Pastor’s Friday Comments (09.13.19)

The term you hear me use most often when referring to our congregation is “a family of faith.” It is not a designation that should be applied lightly or that is appropriate for every church, but last Sunday was a great example of how apt it is when talking about Parkway.

The honoring of a couple of long-term servants of God who have given so much to our church, especially to the children; the recognition of a milestone birthday of one of our most senior members; the witnessing of a couple asking for God’s blessing on their family through a parent-child dedication service; and the weekly practice of giving glory to God through reverent and intentional worship — all of these practices combined to show us as a family that enjoys each other’s company, celebrates each other’s life stages, and seeks to do all under the leadership of the Holy Spirit. That’s what it means to be a family of faith.

I read another story this week about a huge urban church that was having to downsize. They own ten blocks of real estate in the heart of a Southern city and they have realized that, following years of numerical decline, they only need about ten percent of that. The pastor commented that their struggle to maintain viability rose from asking people to do two things that they don’t do anymore: go to church and go downtown.

They are going to use the proceeds from selling most of their property to establish satellite campuses where they still get to worship “together” by piping in portions of the service from the main campus while having some live elements. They are attempting to stay connected electronically. It’s a solution, I guess. 

To me it feels like trying to stay in touch with your kids by Skype or Facetime. It’s better than nothing, but can’t come close to the experience of being in the same room.

I am in no position to second guess the decisions of people who have been far more successful in ministry than I have, but another option might be to take that money and release it for the establishment of smaller congregations in underserved communities, churches that could truly connect with people in the ways that families connect with one another. 

It’s no secret that keeping churches, especially smaller churches, alive, is a struggle today. But last Sunday reminded me of why it is worth the effort. I hope you agree, and that you will deepen your own commitment to keeping Parkway vibrant and thriving for many years to come.