Sharing Pastors, Buildings, Vision

We all want to have our own. Maybe it’s an American thing. I don’t know.

As the Institutional Church shifts and fewer people participate in person and resources are limited (or we think they are) it’s a good time to discern what Big Changes might be in our future.

What would you be willing to do to help your congregation thrive?

  • Would you be willing to share a pastor with another congregation?
  • Would you be willing to share your church campus with another congregation?

Where I live, there are congregations that do great ministry in their communities but they can no longer afford a full-time pastor. It probably feels like a death sentence to admit that they can only call a part-time Shepherd. But would you rather close your church or share a pastor with another congregation?

This is the choice some of our congregations will need to make in 2022.

Where I live, there are congregations with large buildings and extra space, and they can no longer afford what it costs to keep that building that used to serve a congregation of 500 when now the congregation numbers about 80. What if that church shared their building with another congregation? Would you rather close your church or share your property with another congregation?

This is the choice some of our congregations will need to make in 2022.

We like to have “our own.” Our own house. Our own car. Our own children. Our own grandchildren. But imagine how our rich life might be if we shared? The future might well involve more shared housing and more shared transportation. While we might have family by blood and adoption and marriage near us, we are also blessed with chosen family who are related to us only by God’s grace.

We teach little children to share and – as adults – many of us share our resources to support everything from universities and colleges to public television and radio to people in need of homes, medical treatment, and food. Why is it so different to share leadership and space?

This might be a good conversation to have within our congregations. Could we undergird our church’s community impact by sharing a pastor with another church? Could we double the usefulness of our building as a tool for ministry by sharing it with another church? Would we?

(Note: I’m not talking about being a landlord. I’m talking about true partnerships.)

These are not conversations about desperation. These are conversations about exciting possibilities. What can you envision? What would you be willing to do to help your congregation thrive?

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