PASTOR POST 09-08-21

Greetings Hazelwood Friends!

Did you know that researchers, experts in church growth, and practitioners of ministry say that it is easier to start a new congregation from the ground up than it is to transform an already existing congregation? Why do you think that is?

There are quite a few reasons for this, but here are a few that stand out to me:

      Habit. It is really easy to fall into doing things the way we have done them for decades without asking: Is this what God is calling us to do here and now? Or Is this still the best way to do this particular thing here and now? It may have made sense or been the “best practice” at the time, but times change.

      Concentrated Control. It is really easy in congregations for a person, or a few persons, to control too much of the decision making without input from others. Similarly, the same people continue to hold the same office year after year after year, or only a very small number of people rotate in and out a given position, with no chance for “new blood” and new voices and perspectives, and/or the “new blood” declines the opportunity to serve more deeply.

      Lack of Transparency. This is where things are kept hidden, whether intentionally or unintentionally, from the congregation. People don’t really know how decisions are made or how the congregation’s funds are spent. Clarity is really important to inspire trust in the congregation – from the congregational participants and from the members of the larger community.

I encourage us each to think and pray about how we may see some aspects of these three things happening in our congregation and how we could work to make improvements, as we enter this season of preparing for a new year. How might God be calling you to contribute to continuing transformation?

There is SO much for which to give thanks when it comes to this congregation!!! There is so much potential here, just waiting to burst forth, if we will let it. God is looking for people to be God’s hands and feet and voice for the day in which we live in NOW – not the one we used to live in 50 years ago, 20 years ago, or even 5 years ago. I firmly believe that Hazelwood Christian has already made some wonderful strides in transformation over the last few years in some areas. And I believe there is the desire to continue the transformation process in other areas that still need our attention.

This is a WONDERFUL congregation, full of folks who genuinely care about our future and our community. We are fortunate to not have the problems that some congregations face, while at the same time recognizing that we do have challenges that must be addressed. I am so excited and grateful to be serving here with all of you during this time of transition and change!!

Shalom, Rev. Pamela