Church silos

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jimkenney12

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About 1994 a person who had just been recognized as a Lay Patorsl Minister (now titled Designated Lay Minister) gave a powerful message asking churches to stop acting as silos separate from each other and be open to sharing the gifts of their leaders, both paid and volunteer. Other than through presbytery I saw very little willingness by congregations to collaborate and cooperate except for special projects like refugee families. There seems to be a mutual possessiveness between clergy and the congregations they serve or think they own.

My friend suggested that leaders who are especially strong in a particular area of ministry could support that area of ministry in near by pastoral charges and their congregations might benefit from access to different leadership gifts from leaders in other pastoral charges

I wonder if this pandemic (there will probably be more in the future) has opened the door to this kind of cooperation a little wider?
 

Luce NDs

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About 1994 a person who had just been recognized as a Lay Patorsl Minister (now titled Designated Lay Minister) gave a powerful message asking churches to stop acting as silos separate from each other and be open to sharing the gifts of their leaders, both paid and volunteer. Other than through presbytery I saw very little willingness by congregations to collaborate and cooperate except for special projects like refugee families. There seems to be a mutual possessiveness between clergy and the congregations they serve or think they own.

My friend suggested that leaders who are especially strong in a particular area of ministry could support that area of ministry in near by pastoral charges and their congregations might benefit from access to different leadership gifts from leaders in other pastoral charges

I wonder if this pandemic (there will probably be more in the future) has opened the door to this kind of cooperation a little wider?
With a stonewalled stoic group ... stele 'd with fear?

Isn't there something in the great books about abandoning fear of the greatest fear? Yea I walk ...
 

Mrs.Anteater

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Which gifts are you thinking of, Jim? My thought is that volunteers are in general stretched thin, so if it isn’t about a project with another congregation, wouldn’t it double the work? Like the financial volunteer not only doing their own churches budget but also the neighbouring church’s? Amalgamating seems like a better solution.
 

Mendalla

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Which gifts are you thinking of, Jim? My thought is that volunteers are in general stretched thin, so if it isn’t about a project with another congregation, wouldn’t it double the work? Like the financial volunteer not only doing their own churches budget but also the neighbouring church’s? Amalgamating seems like a better solution.
That's volunteer staff, though. He is also talking about professional staff, and I think that's where the real opportunities may lie. So maybe instead of three nearby churches laying out for a half-time youth pastor each, they go together and pay one church's to work full-time and organize youth activities and services and such regionally instead of competing with each other. That's kind of what he has in mind, I think.

We have heard from seeler before how the churches in Fredericton cooperate on summer services and Good Friday and such. That's another example.

The problem is that some (not all) churches, ironically, don't always like sharing and even see other churches as competition at times.
 

Carolla

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Many years ago, my church realized that with the very few youth we had, the 'youth group' experience was pretty poor. So we opted to connect with another United church & send our youth over there - it worked pretty well, which I would mostly attribute to the stellar leadership provided by our former WC member Birthstone.

In the summer we share worship with a neighbouring UC - worship 'there' with their minister & music staff in July, worship at our own church in Aug. Good Friday also. Seems more driven by summer attendance numbers, staff vacation needs, and financial considerations than by a sense of mission & ministry.

Some years ago the UC GO Project started a 'travelling VBS' model. GO hired the staff & developed the curriculum; then churches would contract them to come for a week or 2 to provide a VBS type programme, with the contracting church providing a residence space for the camp staff for the week and the meals & any transport needed for campers. It was a good programme - I was involved with it for a couple of years. So some youth consequently had a full summer of paid employment & leadership development, while also experiencing life in different communities. Seems like we could do much more of that.

Sadly, I haven't really seen any increase in sharing of resources etc in my area in these COVID times. Churches are still independently exhausting themselves learning how to do on-line type worship. I had a discussion recently with several ministers and wondered aloud what might happen if they actually 'beamed in' others for a Sunday service & how much courage it would take to shake up the 'status quo' - the 'its what we pay you to do' crowd.
 

KayTheCurler

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Many years ago western Canada had Sunday School by Post and Sunday School Vans run by Anglicans. I knew someone who worked on a van as a young woman and had a great time. I've seen references to both things on line over the years but didn't find much on a quick search just now. In SK they were funded by the diocese and carried two young women and supplies to otherwise unserviced areas.
 

Tabitha

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when I was in Edmonton St. Paul's partnered with Knox Met in the summer. Both United churches are about 5k apart in the city. Summer services were shared but with a twist. Folks from St. Paul's led the services at Knox Met AND THE OTHER WAY AROUND. sO ANYONE ATTENDING EITHER KNEW THE BUILDING OR KNEW THE WORHSHIP lADERS.
hERE IN pENTICTON ALL THE MAINLINE CHURCHES GOT TOGETHER AND HIRED A YOUTH MINISTER. wE EVEN GOT A uNITED cHURCH GRANT. aT THE END OF 3 YEARS (AND THE END OF THE GRANT) IT FIZZLED OUT FOR A NUMBER OF REASONS. Sorry for all the caps. Yelling was not intended.
 

Pinga

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We have another church invited to our services because they don't have a minister, and our minister is assigned to them while they are in this state.
Some of their leadership is starting to offer leadership, do readings, sing, etc. It's good to experience it. Also figured out that we could send them our Constant Contact with minor revisions to make it theres. They shared our online license for meetings for a while as well.

I had also tried to build a relationship with another church, that has a supply minister. Their wonderful minister was keen. I did not see the same reception.

I do feel that there is protectionism that occurs.

In a virtual world, we can worship anywhere. It is good to meet with our friends for coffee & conversation in a virtual space, but, I am recognizing that for some, they are taking it as an opportunity to experience other sermons.

I also see folks starting to think about the wheel they had been on, so busy at the church, and wondering...do they need to volunteer as much as they did. What other opportunities are there for spending their time.

Anyhow, Jim, I would love to see more combined effort --but, aware, that that kind of stuff just didn't happen as one would think.
I also know that I got slapped pretty hard in a different online space for commenting that it wasn't just ministers who were feeling burnt out by trying to shift into online space and look at being church in a rapidly shifting world, so, am cautious in my conversations related to the topic.
 

jimkenney12

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We have another church invited to our services because they don't have a minister, and our minister is assigned to them while they are in this state.
Some of their leadership is starting to offer leadership, do readings, sing, etc. It's good to experience it. Also figured out that we could send them our Constant Contact with minor revisions to make it theres. They shared our online license for meetings for a while as well.

I had also tried to build a relationship with another church, that has a supply minister. Their wonderful minister was keen. I did not see the same reception.

I do feel that there is protectionism that occurs.

In a virtual world, we can worship anywhere. It is good to meet with our friends for coffee & conversation in a virtual space, but, I am recognizing that for some, they are taking it as an opportunity to experience other sermons.

I also see folks starting to think about the wheel they had been on, so busy at the church, and wondering...do they need to volunteer as much as they did. What other opportunities are there for spending their time.

Anyhow, Jim, I would love to see more combined effort --but, aware, that that kind of stuff just didn't happen as one would think.
I also know that I got slapped pretty hard in a different online space for commenting that it wasn't just ministers who were feeling burnt out by trying to shift into online space and look at being church in a rapidly shifting world, so, am cautious in my conversations related to the topic.
I regret you got that reaction. Unfortunately some clergy are overly defensive and sensitive or self-centered. I worry about those congregation members who are anxious about finances or loss of members. Most congregations are going to lose 10-40% of their members by next spring. Many of those are gone already.

I also worry about older members who do not have functional internet, are feeling isolated, and are afraid to come to live services. The majority of the people who answered our search committee survey were over 75.

Covid-19 compressed about 5 years of participation trends into about 5 weeks. We are now needing more than ever to evaluate the importance of identity vs mission.
 

Pinga

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Jim, we have been working at getting those individuals online who aren't currently. Some are without internet (due to finances or age or both). Some have inadequate computer equipment (smartphone, tablet, computer), Some don't have Canada wide calling, so can't afford to call into the service.

We are supplying 1800 call-in.
We purchased a couple of tablets and are trialing offering them to folks who have older machines.
We are working on a few other items, such as allowing those who are mobile to reserve a spot in the church to use the church's internet and resources to participate in the service.


I agree, though, it has really pushed folks. to consider their participation.
Funny, we have had a few folks who started attending our service, and are not in a hurry to come into a building. They just appreciate participating in the service/music. (yes, they also asked about giving money through etransfer)
 

Pinga

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ps Jim. I am sorry that I triggered that reaction. I can handle the attacks, but, was shocked at the level of hurt that was shown by folks. Told me that having critical dialogues was just not something that could be done then, and I am not sure, can ever be done.
 

Luce NDs

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ps Jim. I am sorry that I triggered that reaction. I can handle the attacks, but, was shocked at the level of hurt that was shown by folks. Told me that having critical dialogues was just not something that could be done then, and I am not sure, can ever be done.
critical analysis is not a church thing ... I was told that even analysis was not very acceptable as it was too close to process and thought! Bliss is beta ...
 

Mendalla

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We purchased a couple of tablets and are trialing offering them to folks who have older machines.
Interestingly, the virtual care platform we are using at work uses preloaded tablets that we can place in the home (and then take back and sanitize, both data-wise and germ-wise, for another patient. They even have a SIM and a basic data plan on board so we aren't reliant on them having Internet (costs us $20/mth/tablet though). Makes it easier for us since we aren't trying to support whatever each person happens to have at home.

Which is a roundabout way of saying, "cool" and "this can work done right". :nerd:

also know that I got slapped pretty hard in a different online space for commenting that it wasn't just ministers who were feeling burnt out by trying to shift into online space and look at being church in a rapidly shifting world
Slapped hard why? For flip's sake, this has got to affect all levels of church leadership, not just the "pros". Anyone who would slap you around for speaking that truth must be gazing real hard into their own navel.

And that seems to be part of the problem here. Churches and clergy that are so caught up in their own world that they aren't really open to those outside. That creates the silo. How you break that down is another whole issue.

Speaking from my own UU experience, I think that this is one of the problems of congregationalism (I know the UCCan isn't fully congregational like the UUs but it seems to be leaning more and more that way). When the congregation is the primary focus, there is a tendency to focus on the congregation and little incentive to interact outside one's own space. I know when I started interacting more with our neighbour congregation in Sarnia (culminating in me preaching there), it was apparent that my congregation had little or nothing to do with them or other neighbouring congregations. What interaction did happen, tended to be at the clergy level (e.g. pulpit exchanges). And within London, we literally had the humanists bitching if we so much as participated in joint activities with a progressive Christian congregation. They wanted nothing to do with anyone who believed in God so we basically did our own thing even as the Christian churches formed alliances to better serve the community. So, again, a silo formed.
 

Pinga

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Actually, totally agree with you. I love this little congregation and its social justice and loving approach. I respect what is being done with deep inward, local and global care, though denominational focus is lacking

Back to sharing or collaborating

I see willingness to collaborate on social justice issues with any faith group

I see the hardship of trying to work with other groups, figure out cost sharing, add more people into decision making processes.

The question is, for me, do we need buildings, and if so, for what?

I do sense there is a value in being in community but some of our members will not return for years.
 

Mendalla

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The question is, for me, do we need buildings, and if so, for what?
We had this debate at the UU fellowship just before I left for good. We were actually looking at selling the building and renting space in a better location. The mortgage was paid so the money from the sale could have been banked or invested to generate income to cover the rent and boost the reserves. And renting would then give us the flexibility to up or downsize as needed since we would probably just be in 3 or 5 year commercial leases. I was on the team that reported on the whole question of keeping the building vs. renting.

Of course, at that time we still needed space for in-person meetings, midweek groups, and so on which factored into the decision to keep the building. Today, with so much activity moving to Zoom (I think that's the platform they are using), perhaps things would come down differently.

Edit: We had already moved to VOIP, so the phone lines could ring in the office manager's home as easily as an actual church office. And that coincided with downsizing our professional ministry from fulltime to quarter time, so the minister was mostly home officing as well (in fact, neither of the quarter time ministers they had even lived in London).
 
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