Friday, May 03, 2013
A Membership Drive!
A New Idea!
In so many ways this is a new idea for Episcopalians. We’re so used to infighting and membership loss over the past half century or so that it seems all we know how to do is loose members.
But now we have a whole new church. We are increasingly an “inclusive” church. We are taking our mission and ministry much more seriously. We’re organizing our church life more around the idea of justice and human need that ever before.
I believe it is time for a spiritual awakening for us.
In April of 2013 I led a Clergy Conference in the Diocese of Montana for a good friend Bishop Brookhart. We had a wonderful time there and +Frank has invited me back to Montana to tour the Diocese. He wants me to share with the vestries of his diocese a lifetime of experience with Evangelism. I bring with me the idea of a "Membership Drive for the Episcopal Church". We've been wringing our hands about a loss of membership long enough. Let's try being a bit more positive about the possibilities.
The Community Context is the core of a Membership Drive. When a congregation organizes its life around the needs of its community, it will prosper and thrive. Then when that same congregation commends its faith to the community and intentionally invites its neighbors not so much to "go" to church but to "be" the church, it will enjoy a new growth in its spirituality.
I've spent a lifetime developing a model and a technology for this work. During the decade of Evangelism I wrote "User Friendly Evangelism". Now, I'm developing what is an essentially a new idea.
A Membership Drive!
So now that I am planning to retire for yet a third time, I may be available to share a lifetime of learning with others.
May God prosper this wonderful church we love so much. May God prosper the “Progressive Church” also embracing all human beings, also courageously facing human suffering and injustice. This is exactly what God would want to see his church doing.