"Christian Growth" - Message from the President, May 2019

Recently, I had an interesting discussion concerning continued Christian growth.

Yesterday, on the way to Lake Anna, my friend and I had a great chat about our kids, our hopes for their continued Christian growth as they transition from high school to college to adults, our churches and changes each of our churches are weathering, our pastors, and really everything in between. Although this friend and I don’t share church lives, we’ve always been open about our faith with each other. Seriously, is there is anything more likely to push you closer to Jesus than teenagers? I’m kidding (only slightly).

What was interesting about our discussion was the impact of change on our individual congregations. Her church has had a significant change in pastoral leadership, and the age and style of each new individual has impacted the congregation. I talked about how St John’s was in an area that has vastly different demographics than when it was founded over 50 years ago. We see a need to serve the immigrant community growing around us, yet sometimes struggle to find the right way to engage.

We also talked about changes to services and the negative and positive outcomes of making those changes. I told her about the wonderful fellowship inspired by the temporary move to the Fellowship Hall, and how we wanted to make sure to hold on to that now that we’re back in the Sanctuary. What we thought would be kind of painful ended up being fun.

We were so engaged in our conversation that I missed the exit and we had to take a detour. Oops. It was worth it, though. Worth it to know that other congregations are figuring things out like we are – trying to balance treasured traditions with the need to evolve. Trying to be open to a generation that generally isn’t inspired to attend traditional weekly church services. Evolving requires change, which is hard. That’s what makes teenagers so hard too, isn’t it? They change every second of every day, and as parents we are constantly trying to catch up.

I need to remind myself that any struggle, big or small, should start with prayer. I ask that as we ease from spring into summer, and into a more laid back church routine, keep St. Johns and all Christian congregations in your prayers. And the parents of teenagers, too.