Several churches attended the last meeting with representatives from the Presbyterian Foundation to discuss congregational sustainability last week. It’s been two years since we first gathered to talk about using our assets appropriately, being honest about our financial trajectories and creating space for the next generation of worship and work in the PCUSA.
My take away this time had to do with thinking about plan B and plan C. Many of us have dreams of redevelopment, of attracting new families, of new ways of worship and work and we call it plan B.
Some plan B’s that are in motion:
- One congregation creating a new alliance with a full daycare center, a service needed in the community.
- One congregation choosing to worship in a part of the building that is handicap accessible.
- One congregation willing to be honest about resources during a transition of leadership so that the transition can be transformative.
- Two congregations working together for the future – including a transfer of land if the way be clear
- Two congregations able to build a new sanctuary with the proceeds from selling off resources resulting from a successful merge
But around the table, we also talked about how many of us have avoided acting on plan B and we are then faced with the realities of plan C. Plan C is realizing we took too long to act and now the resources, our buildings, our finances and our human resources are no longer available to enact plan B.
Over the course of the last two years, the honesty we have shared has been refreshing. Our conversations have connectional, acting and speaking as if we truly belong to one another. By the end of this meeting, I felt as were able to face this question together – if we were to view our resources, buildings, finances and human resources, as the inheritance we have for the next generation of worshippers and workers, are we spending their inheritance in a way that the next generation will understand?
We want to continue these conversations, so keep an ear open. We will let you know when and where.