BUILDING A LEGACY: Learning, Discerning, and Leaning In | Part 10: Letting Go-Love God More

BUILDING A LEGACY: Learning, Discerning, and Leaning In | Part 10: Letting Go-Love God More

As churches move into the final stage of maturity, turning towards legacy building and completing their ministry faithfully and well, some churches have trouble “letting go.”  Truth be told, sometimes trouble “letting go” will keep a congregation from moving ahead. Congregations get trapped in the past.  (Often this is a romanticized past that glosses over things we have chosen to forget.) There is a way to escape this trap, which is to love God more.

Congregations love their buildings.  The church property, particularly the sanctuary, is and ought to be sacred space.  Baptisms, confirmations, weddings, and memorial services mark some of the most important events in our lives. Memorable worship and special occasions become a part of who we are as individuals and a congregation.  How can we say goodbye to all this?  How do we let go?  By loving God more.

Think about it.  If we love our building more than God, we have created and icon. We sin by putting another god before God.  We need to remind ourselves to love God more.  There are many ways we love God.  “It’s quite simple: Do what is fair and just to your neighbor, be compassionate and loyal in your love, and don’t take yourself too seriously, take God seriously.” (Micah 6:8, The Message.)

Think about it.  If we love our faith community more than God, we are worshipping a false idol.  We need to love God more.  This can mean having faith and trusting that community can be found in other settings.  The love in the congregation for each other is real and the God that is between us and incarnated in relationships is real.  But your congregation is not unique.  God is known in other settings.

As congregations decline, more and more time and effort is taken up by institutional maintenance, leaving less and less time and energy for discipleship development, mission and service.  Congregations become less fruitful.  Loving God more means unlocking and releasing the assets of the church – property, investments, the talents of members – so that they can be employed by God in new ways, leading to greater fruitfulness.

It is not easy to let go.  It will be less difficult if we remember to love God more than the things we need to let go of.


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Charlie Kuchenbrod

Church Legacy Specialist Charlie Kuchenbrod is a resource for all UCC churches that are transitioning to the legacy stage of their lifecycle. Charlie Kuchenbrod has served the Southern New England Conference and prior to that the historic Connecticut...

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