By: David Lewicki
August 12, 2014
... it was about listening really closely to people’s answers about what makes them happy about church and doing more of that rather than less.
When my wife and I arrived to be co-pastors about four years ago, we found a congregation with an amazing history. They were founded in the mid 50s and since their founding have always been involved with incredible things in the community—the civil rights movement, Vietnam, social justice movements.
But when we got here things slowed a little and people were low. We started to talk to people and ask, “What do you love about this church? What do you like to learn about and how do you like to learn? What in worship lights up your spirit?”
“They [congregants] love to worship together. They love to learn together. They love to serve together. “
From those responses we really got a clear sense of what this community’s passions are. We then created a plan that does nothing more than bring those passions to the surface and allows us to grow, deepen and celebrate those aspects of the church that are important to people. Whenever you arrive at an existing church as a pastor, it’s been there before you and it’s going to be there after you’re gone. So it’s not your church to remake. It’s your opportunity to help that congregation redefine and re-engage. For us it wasn’t about reinventing the church, but it was about listening really closely to people’s answers about what makes them happy about church and doing more of that rather than less.
People are free to choose what makes them happy. But our hunch is that people are happy coming to church. There’s something about community that brings people deep joy.