I consider myself the luckiest pastor in the world.
I know that’s a grand statement to make, but that’s the way I feel. Most pastors hope to make a difference in the lives of parishioners and to move a congregation forward, but very few get to re-think and re-do church “from scratch”, and with property and buildings and very little debt.
When I came to Wedgewood in 1989 it had a Sunday attendance of 170 and a full-time Minister of Education youth, and a part-time minister of music, organist, and secretary. By 1994 we were down to 20 and I was the only paid staff. It was hard to see that many people exit, but what an opportunity!
If you were creating a church from scratch, what would it look like?
At Wedgewood we imagined a church in which non-Christians could be members. In fact, we have a member who is Muslim. He’s not a token Muslim either. No, he’s the chairperson of one of our most important committees.
I often get strange looks when I tell people we have a Muslim who is a member at Wedgewood. I can understand that response, but I can’t imagine church any other way. For Wedgewoodians, the most important category is “human being”, not “Christian”. And the purpose of the church is to love the world as God loves the world.
Who could be a member at the church you would create?
What would be the purpose of the church you would form?