21st Century Sojourner

imag0121 Ross Perot Museum

This story is a familiar one. In 1972, and after 308 years, the First Church of Newton, Mass., called it quits. It gave its assets to a museum, sold its building to a Greek Evangelical Church, and disbanded. The church started in 1664. It rose to a high of 1,200 members in 1952 but dropped to 325 in 1972. Three-fourths of the membership was over fifty.

In my current ministry position, I see congregations at various stages of the life cycle. But that is not the focus of this post. For the church to carry out its mission, it needs never to lose sight of the reason for its existence. The church can easy fall into the first two descriptions listed below without every realizing it has done so.

The Church as a Museum.

What does that mean? First, by way of a definition. “A museum is…

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