Jordan B. Davis
Church Relations Officer
I have written about it a few times, but it is something that I don’t think can ever get old — the importance of knowing the story of your congregation. Whether you learn the story of your congregation through the stories told in sanctuary during (or before and after or worship), stories told through favorite hymns that share important themes and memories of members, bulletin boards, or stories told through scrapbooks updated weekly, both sharing and learning these stories can enrich the next chapter.
At Sneads Ferry Presbyterian Church, in the hallway across from the pastor’s office, there is a small table with a big notebook. If a passerby has a minute, he or she can flip through the pages and find bulletins and a recap of many events in the congregation’s life–as pictures of baptisms, guest preachers, and communion services add color and context to the pages.
I have never seen a notebook like it and I loved flipping through the pages as I waited for the choir to finish rehearsing before worship. As a guest, I could see the love and excitement that fills this congregation. As a pastor, I could see how worship flows through the year with communion, baptisms, and any other “special” services. If I were a member, I could find reminders of past events– as well as encouragement for the next.
In a world where Facebook seems to be the most updated platform for many congregations (however, Sneads Ferry does have a fantastic Facebook page!), it is refreshing to be able to flip through a notebook like this one which is already updated to include last week’s worship service. In it, I find an element of personal pride as the congregation claims their ministry in a way that can be seen by anyone, with or without a computer. In it, I find a future story that is ready and waiting to be told.
Many congregations wait for a milestone to hit before a few individuals work tirelessly to pull together old scrapbooks and find recent pictures to include in a history room that will remain set up for a period of time. I have enjoyed wandering through many of these rooms! I wonder though, what would happen if we made a point to tell our story as it happens rather than pulling it together a few times when an anniversary rolls around?? I wonder– would this serve to bring new hope and vision into our congregations when we are able to see what aspects of ministry bring the most joy and we continue to build on those themes that we find?
How does your congregation share its story? Let us know!
Sneads Ferry Presbyterian Church is led by Rev. Bill Young (D.Min., 1981). Learn more about their story and ministry at http://www.sneadsferrypresbyterian.com/.