OK, I’ve been kind of hard on the church growth movement lately (e.g., here and here), but I acknowledge its good intentions and practical advice. My CCLE colleague Paul J. Cain (not to be confused with Paul McCain), is a confessional Lutheran pastor in Wyoming who has published a little book entitled 5 Things You Can Do to Make Your Congregation a Caring Church.
He knows that God grows the Church by means of the Word and Sacraments. But there are are some kingdom-of-the-lefthand aspects that can help encourage people to come to receive them. He talks about common-sense things like parking and the state of the building, greeters and ushers. But he cuts quickly to a far more important factor that can make a congregation attractive in a good sense (or, if this is not present, send both visitors and members screaming away). Namely, the ethos of the congregation. Do people here care about one another? Does the congregation care about anyone besides one another, showing compassion to people in need and to others outside the church? If not, how can that change?
The book is short, extremely practical, and illustrated with Pastor Cain’s personal experiences. After the jump, the product description from Amazon and a link to buy it.
Discussion topic: What are some things confessional Lutherans–or orthodox, traditionalist congregations of other church bodies–might do to “grow their churches” that would not compromise their doctrines or practice?
Our salvation is not dependent on how we feel, but certainly our relationships with one another very often are. Fostering and nurturing good relationships, removing stumbling blocks of perception and communication, and sweating the details, both inside and to the outside of the congregation, are key to having a caring congregation.
This volume will equip you to:Establish a pattern of caring that flows out of the Means of Grace
- Value taking care of the details as a means of showing care
- Find ideas and ways to care for the community around the church
- Care for the called, elected, and volunteer workers in the congregation
- Nurture and support the members of the congregation