an inward, maintenance focused mentality instead of seeing the "world as our parish" and thinking missionally
Yes, a spiritual issue. What are you all doing about this? Really would like to know.
Well, we've only been here since July, but a few things we're doing are:Consistently preaching the message that "if you're not dead yet, you're not done yet" - in other words, there is something that almost everyone can do to serve God, no matter your age, even if it's just to make an encouraging phone call to someone.Restructuring meetings to focus on the work of ministry first and stuff like money second, so that the business conversations are (hopefully) driven by a ministry focus.Making a 2014 budget that includes line items for ministry (nothing was budgeted for ministry last year, before we came).Starting a 2nd (contemporary) service to reach younger families.There is a core of people (including most in leadership) who are on board and ready to go with a community-focused vision, so those people are starting to run with a few things, and we're hoping others will join in as they see the core leaders start to have results.There are really a lot of factors at play here that contribute to the mentality this church has. It's a small town that's in decline and has seen a lot of local businesses closing in recent years. The town itself has a spirit of hopelessness, and most of the younger generation doesn't come back after college. The church has tried a lot of things in the past, but they were perceived as not working. Our church is seen as stuffy and hoity-toity, which is a barrier for some in the community. One person who pastored here 30-some years ago only wanted a select few people as leaders and basically encouraged everyone else to sit on the sidelines, and that attitude kind of stuck. Our immediate predecessor was here for 8 years and devoted an extraordinary amount of time to pastoral care, which was probably necessary at first because the two pastors before her had both died mid-appointment, but eventually it just enabled the spectator mentality.Anyway, all that to say, there are a lot of thought patterns here that need to change, image issues, and more. We're not expecting to see changes overnight.
Sounds like you are making substantive changes. Please keep in touch and let me know how it is working out. Thanks