We know the tough realities: We are living in a very different world than we did 20-30 years ago. Not only has the economy changed, but there is a high mistrust of institutions including the church. Sadly, many (most?) people just don’t consider belonging to a church as a necessary part of their life anymore. In response, nearly every church has asked, “how do we get more members?” or “how do we get more money?” The old responses just don’t work well anymore. So as good stewards we tighten our belts and learn to live on a little less each year.

If we want to do more than cut our budgets, our conversations need to be different. When the rules change, our questions need to change, to become more focused if we are to sustain our church’s witness in your community.

Many of us are part of congregations that though battered by these winds of change still manage to keep ourselves upright. Yes, we bare the marks of the storm, but we still maintain our commitment to Jesus Christ where we are.

The good news is that we don’t have to do that by ourselves. There are many other churches in Albany Presbytery that share much the same struggle as we do. Times are tough and those that band together to share wisdom and strength are more likely to persevere, and not only survive, but hopefully become a more resilient and effective witness to Jesus Christ.

Resilient Church Network Online Discussion

On Thursday evening, October 4 from 6:00 to 7:00, I will hold the first “Zoom” discussion of what I am calling “The Resilient Church Network” discussion. The conversation is open to representatives of churches in Albany Presbytery who seek support and honest discussion as they forge their way into a precarious future. Click here for the meeting details.

If your church would like to be part of this network, please contact me ASAP.  You can email me at: tcoombs@earthlink.net.

For the first discussion I have asked churches to send me three current strengths and three current struggles of your church by October 1 so I can send them to each participating church.

For those who are unfamiliar with ”Zoom,” it is a video conferencing system. Participants can be present by video or simply by phone if you don’t have reliable internet. Those that contact me will be sent a link to both download the software and the link to the conference. The download takes seconds to load and is perfectly safe. The video conference looks something like this:

It may look intimidating, but once we get started you’ll be thankful that you didn’t have to drive an hour or more each way to participate.

The purpose of the Resilient Church Network is to support one another in these difficult times, to share ideas that have worked, to explore resources that exist in the larger church that may be helpful to us, and to simply know you are not alone in your struggle.

Contact Tim Coombs ASAP!

About Rev. Dr. Tim Coombs

Tim Coombs serves as co-pastor of Trinity Presbyterian Church in Scotia, NY with his wife, Rev. Kathleen Gorman-Coombs and leads a New Worshiping Community, Parallels (https://www.facebook.com/ParallelsNWC). He also worked on staff at Albany Presbytery for over a decade. Besides his work for the church, Tim is a storyteller, biker, guitar player, and intern to his cat, Sharpie. You can reach Tim at: pastortim@scotiatrinity.org

The purpose of the Albany Presbytery Blog is to share information, tell stories, and promote the mission and ministry of the presbytery, synod and beyond. While the breadth of this medium is intentionally broad, it is not a platform for opinion pieces related to business coming before the presbytery unless designed as part of an initiative to provide a diversity of viewpoints at the direction of the presbytery. Exceptions to this policy may be brought to the presbytery officers who will determine appropriateness of submissions.