Vol 12 No. 14 As a church where would I go if I was in trouble?

Dear friends,

I have often asked friends and colleagues about their networks. It is generally an easy topic and most of us are familiar and conversant with who we talk to, share with, and journey in life with. The follow-up question I often ask is this: Making the assumption if you are married you weren’t able to get a hold of your spouse, who would you contact if you were in trouble or in a moment of crisis like the place that we often found characters like David, Moses, Elijiah, and the Apostle Peter? I know we would turn to prayer. I’m not going to extend this by going through the disclaimers, but who would I talk to if I was in trouble? The interesting thing is many of the people I talk to have no answer for that question. What is true in individual lives is often true in the lives of churches.

Many churches have a wealth of wisdom, prayerfulness, and good experience to draw from as they turn to God in times of need. Many churches, more and more I’m delighted to say, have a regular process of reflecting through strategic planning, discerning retreats, and most especially engaging Sam Breakey in church health assessments. The churches that I have just described are often able to engage, in a healthy and preemptive way, strengths, stressors, joys and concerns that may be coming into view. We often look to our Regional Ministers for assistance which is an excellent place to start in our family of churches. There is also a growing body of CBWC literature from Treasurer’s Corner to Making Connections, Area Newsletters to this newsletter and more, that offer encouragement. In addition, our Leadership Forums provide not only timely topics but have always been intended to be an inter-pollination and resourcing between churches.

Having said all this there is still a need to answer the question more robustly as churches: “where would we go if we were in trouble?”. We are working as staff and Board to provide options for churches that are unique and helpful to our congregational form of government. These options pick up on some of the more catastrophic situations we can find ourselves in: what happens when there is dramatic failure in leadership whether it be volunteer or paid, what occurs when there is catastrophic financial collapse, or a drop in attendance for some reason. In addition, these questions and many others include how we collaboratively support each other in the repositioning or ending a church’s ministry.

We have many healthy and encouraging options of places to go to share our concerns. We will continue to work on preventative preparation and constructive response to crisis, often borrowing from many traditions for examples. We are excited about some new work and resources in this area.


In Christ,

Jeremy Bell