Upcoming Events

Church Bazaar

November 4th

9am-3pm

Stuff the Blue Goose Food Drive

November 4th

10am-2pm

Communion Sunday

November 5th

10am

Pantries

Nov. 10th & 17th

10am-Noon

Windsor Township Retirees Luncheon

November 15th

12 Noon

Village Market

November 18th

Noon-4pm in church


 

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    From the Pastor

    Rev. Scott Crane

    What is the future of the church?

    This question is being asked by many, from the local level to the denominational offices. There was a time when pretty much everyone attended church. It was a central part of people’s lives, like an extended family. It was the place to learn about faith and values.

    In the fifties and the sixties, when the suburbs were sprouting up, new church buildings sprang up with them. I’ve heard stories, from those who ministered then, as to how they had trouble keeping up with the growth. People came to learn not only about faith and values but many types of programs were provided. The church facility was often a central meeting place for community events to happen. And some churches even built gyms to attract families and youth.

    Today, many churches are a fraction of what they once were as our members continue to grow older and few are replacing them. Many see church membership and attendance outdated. They can find God on their own or in other ways. Why bother going to services on Sunday morning when there are so many other things people can be doing?

    Others see the church as simply a “vendor of Christian services.” They will stop by if they want to have a wedding, if they want a child baptized or they want to have a proper funeral for a family member. But they don’t want to join or participate other than for an immediate need. There are also people who come by when they are in a bind, whether for money, for food, help with their rent or other special need. The assumption is that the church can help them regardless of their expectations.

    Another assumption is that the local church will go on forever. Indeed, those in the faith will continue in their spiritual journey. They will continue to seek God wherever circumstances lead. But…will we need the buildings or facilities anymore? More pressing, will we be able to afford them, along with the ever-rising costs of maintenance? There are no simple or easy answers to those questions.

    Indeed, the work of leaders, according to Ron Heifetz and Don Laurie in their article “The Work of Leadership” from Harvard Business Review, is to become more and more adaptive. This means that they can no longer be the problem solvers they once were…as most issues don’t have quick or easy fixes. Rather, leaders must be asking the right questions of all involved. They will have to address problems for which we don’t yet know the answers, often requiring changes in behaviors.

    Where there once were clear answers and minimal uncertainty, now there are no clear answers and often high uncertainty. While there once were straightforward, few big choices, there are now time-consuming, difficult choices. While thinking was once linear, demanding precision, now it tends to be spiral with feedback loops, demanding creativity.

    Many small churches around our region, of various traditions, are continuing to attempt to do programs and activities that they have been doing for many years with less members and financial resources. Like other organizations, there needs to be scaling back as to what is done.

    Our prayer is that all members, friends and supporters of the church help us to imagine what the future will be. First Presbyterian of Dimondale is not going to disappear in the immediate future. But, like so many organizations and businesses, in a day of reclining resources, we want to be intentional about what is next, discern how we might be more faithful stewards, and how we might best meet needs within community in the weeks, months and years ahead. While we put our trust in the providence of God and prayer, we seek out new ways of shaping and molding the values and character of our village and beyond. We welcome input from those around as to how we might continue to use our resources to bless the community.

    Last, but not least: Yes, you can park your car in our parking lot while you are out and about. Yes, you can walk your dog around our property. Yes, you can book family and community events in our Great Room. Yes, you can hang out on the picnic tables in our back lawn. But please know, we also have worship services on Sunday morning at 10am and we would love to have you join us on the journey of faith and life! We don’t always know what the future will bring but it is always good to know that we are not alone, and that there are others willing to travel the road with us.

    Grace & Peace,
    Pastor Scott