Are legacy churches relevant for today? When we started 2020 that was a common question. Should we just invest resources (people and finances) into new churches and missions? As I’ve written before – many legacy churches have been left behind in a missional world. Today we find all churches dealing with how to respond to a worldwide pandemic. None of us were trained or ready for this day. So what do legacy churches bring in this time of ministry? Here are a few ideas.
- Perspective: The church I serve is 246 years old and it has lived through some dark days and challenging times. There have been multiple times that this church could have closed. Yet we are still here. Not because of our faithfulness or the ability to make every right decision but because of God’s grace.
- Innovative Institutional Ministries: I know we don’t put the words “innovative” and “institutional” together too often but we will require innovative institutions in the days ahead. The institution of the church has always been at its best when it responded to the needs of the day. In the 1940’s Culpeper Baptist started a retirement home (now known as Lifespire of Virginia) to serve the needs of vulnerable senior adults AND a children’s day care center. We will need institutional innovation to use our facilities, volunteers, personnel and donors to help recreate the economy, non-profit sector, educational institutions, medical care and, yes, faith communities. This is an exciting time to be an institutional church because we have done ALL of that before. We started hospitals, built schools, created businesses and started church and that all came from innovative institutions. Let’s do that again!
- Relationships: Because of our longevity we are familiar to our communities. There is a certain amount of trust that comes with that longevity. Even if your church has not been active in community conversations – people probably still know you from your real estate. So let’s get out – meet people – ask them how we can best serve them and then LISTEN. Do not use this as an opportunity to grow your church.
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Dan Carlton