Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Purpose Driven Presbyterians – How a Retirement-Age Church Became Purpose Driven.

Many people may be making the mistake of thinking that the Purpose Driven model for ministry is only for churches with younger congregations. If that were the case then there would be very few, if any, Purpose Driven Presbyterian congregations! The recent Purpose Driven Presbyterians conference had a session led by Denny Dennison on “How a Retirement-Age Church Embraced PD.” (“PD” is short for Purpose Driven”)

Denny is the Lead Pastor at North Lake Presbyterian Church, Lady Lake, FL. He came to the church in 2000. He described the church:

“Many were hurt.”

“Most shared their anger.”

“Most felt abandoned.”

“We had a 3 million dollar debt.”

“They had just completed a new sanctuary building and had a debt of 3 million dollars.”

“We appeared to be doing great on the surface…”

“But we were in a critical condition…”

The transition to the Purpose Driven model has not been easy for North Lake. The values of the church had to change. The process that the Session undertook was under girded with prayer. The transition was deliberately slow paced—giving multiple opportunities for people to have input and voice concerns. North Lake lost 300 members for a variety of reasons (death –they are an older congregation, moved back north – the snow birds moved back closer to family and friends and some went to other churches). At the same time North Lake gained 600 members who whole heartedly endorse the church, its vision and the Purpose Driven ministry model. Weekly ministry involvement has grown from 10% to over 25% of the congregation. There has been a steady increase in income and worship attendance. They are beginning to receive members by profession of faith and baptism, not just by transfer of membership. They have completed their “Faith Forward Campaign” with five goals and they have just completed a second strategic planning process and are about to adopt five new goals!

The Purpose Driven ministry model can work in any congregation. The transition to the Purpose Driven model takes prayer, following Christ, time, patience and love.


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