Musings from Ministry Team Members

Posted November 22nd, 2017

“Growing an Engaged Church: How to stop “Doing Church” and start being the church again” by Albert L. Winseman is turning out to be a thoughtful read. Recommended by Leadership Team Chair, LaMonte Rothrock, this book helps tackle the questions of – how we are ‘being church’. We learn that people who are ‘being church’ are engaged in their congregations and can claim four truths: 1) I know what is expected 2) I have the opportunity to do what I do best 3) My spiritual needs are being met and 4) My opinion counts. Structured to give feedback to four corresponding questions, chapter five includes a  twelve question sample survey that gathers information on 1) What do I get? 2) What do I give? 3) How can we grow? and 4) Do I belong? Choosing actions that address these four core concerns can move us from stasis to dynamic and vital growth.  Winseman claims that in addition to attending to these four areas, there are two myths that keep us from moving into becoming a spiritually vital and healthy community; Myth 1) “Believing leads to belonging” Myth 2) “An active member is a faithful member.” Research has shown that people do not come to church because they believe but rather they come to church because they want to belong. When we focus on nurturing people’s sense of belonging – when they feel they belong – and they can tell you what is expected, how they are doing their best, how their spiritual needs are  being met and why their opinion counts – then and only then do people commit to a spiritual path in their spiritual community – then they believe. Winseman additionally addresses Myth two by stating, “Activity that is not the result of engagement leads to burnout. And burned-out members eventually leave: psychologically, emotionally, spiritually and physically.” Why do we care? Why do we wish to be engaged with any church at all? Why does it matter that we participate in a community of faith? We go to work, we volunteer and we participate in a wide array of social activities. We can have all our special interest and social needs met in these ‘other’ places in our lives. So why church? At its purest – the church is the one place in society that does not exist for its own self-preservation. It does not exist to promote itself or its own agenda or its own perspective. The CHURCH exists to be God in this world. ENGAGED participants in church life are active BEING the church. ENGAGED participants in church life are active BEING God in this world. From this perspective, it is well worth working on becoming a Growing and Engaged Church.    – Pastor Kathryn

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