STORY OF THE WEEK - Highland Brethren
Highland Brethren Church Becomes More User-Friendly
“We at Highland Brethren Church are exercising our ‘PHDs,’” Pastor Tim Lindsay told me over the phone. “We’re praying, hearing and doing.” Indeed the Highland Brethren Church is doing just that. Their process/motto of discipleship is “reach, preach, teach and release.” They reach out to the community. They preach the good news of Jesus Christ. They teach and disciple people. Then they release those disciples back to the community. This circle of discipleship has helped the church witness the baptism of 23 people, 20 of whom are brand new to the church.
What led me to contact Pastor Tim was a conversation with Gary Diehl, Church Health and Resource Specialist and lead catalyst for Mobilize, the Brethren Church’s arm for church health, resourcing, and mobilization. Gary has been working with the Highland congregation helping them ask the right questions so they can find the right answers in moving forward. Out of these coaching conversations and consultations with the Highland congregation a desire to make their building serve their mission more effectively has developed.
Two years ago Pastor Tim Lindsay began pastoring the Highland Brethren Church. When he first arrived the Spirit began to give him a vision for the church. One of the first things he noticed was that Highland’s church building was not very user-friendly. The original building had been built in 1861 and the entire building needed updating. A big one for Tim was that the church was not handicap-accessible. This overlooked demographic would not be able to worship with Highland folks which would inhibit their mission of “reach-preach-teach-release.”
Highland prayed together and collectively discerned that a step forward would be a new addition on the front of the building. This new addition, they discerned, would have to make the building more accessible for people, especially those with physical handicaps. Now about 90 percent complete, the new addition has front entry ramps and a foyer and restrooms that are both handicap accessible.
As my phone call with Tim concluded, he reminded me of the passage from the fourth chapter of John’s Gospel when Jesus speaks to the woman at the well (a passage that has been particularly meaningful to the people of Highland Brethren), “Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth” (vv. 23-24, NIV).
The people of Highland Brethren are seeking to be a people of Spirit and truth as they reach out to their community. We celebrate their desire to have a building that is more welcoming and user-friendly. Please continue to pray for the Highland congregation as they continue to seek the will of God and reach out to their surrounding community.
For more information on this story, please feel free to contact Jason Barnhart via phone at 877-289-1708 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
RESOURCE OF THE WEEK
When Not to Build:
If the above story resonated with you then we encourage you to check out When Not to Build: An Architect’s Unconventional Wisdom for the Growing Church. Ray Bowman, co-author and church architect, claims that “nine out of ten churches that have called [him] thinking they need to build have a better, less costly alternative.” The back cover reads, “When Not to Build helps pastors, church leaders, building committees, and church members avoid unnecessary building, keep building costs at a minimum if it is the right time to build, and maintain focus on ministry through a building program.” This resource is invaluable in assisting churches in asking the right questions about church buildingand whether it is even the right time to build.The design of the book is around three principles; the principle of focus – to ask why you want to build, the principle of use – to assess whether building is the right solution, and the principle of provision – if building is the right solution what’s the best way to move forward. Chapter titles include:
• Three Things Church Buildings Can Never Do
• Seven Ways to Avoid Costly Building Mistakes
• Is Your Church Overprogrammed?
• Turning Church Spending Right Side Up
Gary Diehl has a few copies of this book on his bookshelf for anyone who is serious about this conversation. Mobilize, the Brethren Church’s arm for church health and resources, can help your church navigate this and other mobilization situations. Please do not hesitate to call Gary at 877-289-1708 or email email@example.com to get connected with a member of the Mobilize team.
The weekly update is a weekly e-publication of the Brethren Church highlighting a quick story of kingdom movement and impact amongst the Brethren and a reinforcing resource for further reflection and application.