What’s Up with Pastor Todd 12-11-20

What’s Up with Pastor Todd 12-11-20

The theme for the third Sunday in Advent is love. Love is an important theme not only for Christianity and life in general but also more specifically for congregational transition. The big question driving the transition at First Congregational Church of Granby is What is our path to sustainability? The one word answer is love. We have to love our community. And you can’t love someone you’re not in relationship with. That’s why our Vitality Team has been focusing on developing strategies for building authentic relationships with our neighbors.

At our Nov. 23 “What’s Next?” workshop, someone asked for more information and resources on new models for doing church effectively and sustainably in the 21st century. I was tasked by our transition coach with providing that information. There’s a lot out there, and the magic of the Internet gives us access to much of it.

This week’s article comes from Rev. Paul Nixon, leadership coach and founder of the Epicenter Group in Washington, D.C. It’s called “Turning the Sustainability Question on it’s Head.” I encourage you to read the whole thing. It’s not long. Here’s a sample quote: “Their [the church Rev. Nixon was consulting with] core work is not to rebuild their church membership – that is important work, but not the core work. Their core work is cultivating a wider neighborhood that is rooted in gospel values – and weaving their lives with the lives of those in this larger neighborhood. The work of sustainability is rooted in and driven by RELATIONSHIPS.  Jesus said, Seek first the Reign of God, and all these other things will be added along the way.  Any church that understands that it exists to sustain community, neighborhood and justice will seldom be a church running out of people or resources.”

My “why” is love. I love people. I love God. That love is always calling me to connect, to seek and to see and to cultivate the connections among us. I’m so grateful that we can do this work of cultivating relationships together both in the town of Granby and beyond. We’re headed in the right direction. The question is Which of the approaches before us–downsizing or consolidating–will give us the best chance of weaving our lives with the lives of those in our larger Granby neighborhood?

Author: toddyonkman

I am a husband, father, author, and Designated Term Transitional Pastor of First Church of Christ in Saybrook (CT).

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