May 2, 2016

Practical Improvements for the Church

My husband says I constantly try to improve things. In new situations, I scan the area to see what could be done in a better way.

In addition, I admire people who come up with creative solutions to practical problems in the church. I wouldn't want them to alter their biblical world and life view, but I am amazed at how they adapt to changing needs. I say, "Why didn't I think of that?"

I'm sure that people in your church have great ideas for improving things, and I would love to hear about them. Here are a few useful practices that I have observed in churches.

Recognizing Visitors
As a visitor, I have filled out index cards with my contact information. In a few churches, I signed the who's who in the pew folder. And, I tore off a perforated strip from the bulletin and put it in the offering plate. In return, I received imprinted pens or welcome letters from the church. 

However, my most unusual visitor recognition was a shell lei, given in a Hawaiian church. This gift served at least two purposes. It made me feel special to wear it, and it helped church members to identify me as a first-time visitor. After the service, we were invited outside the church with no walls to drink cold pineapple juice under the palms and to be greeted by others. As hard as I try, I cannot think of a way to translate this unique visitor experience to New England.

Bringing the Past into the Present
My current church began about five years before we arrived. The people met in the pastor's home and held services in front of his fireplace. When the congregation built their church, they put a fireplace in the back of the sanctuary. Once we moved into the new church, we continued to gather around the fire each Sunday evening. The congregation appreciated the continuity.

When we built a new sanctuary, the old one became a fellowship hall. The familiar object that came into the new space with us this time was the handmade pulpit. (It was modeled after a ship's bow pulpit that the former pastor's wife admired in a Maine church.) The front of our new sanctuary was built around the pulpit, which is fitting for our heritage of powerful preaching.

Fostering Fellowship
Coffee and fellowship time between church and Sunday school has always been important to our members. When our congregation was much smaller, we gathered in the church's kitchen to drink hot beverages with baked goods made by volunteers. In an environmentally-conscious move, we invited members to keep a distinctive reusable mug at church for coffee and tea. Cleanup was quite a commitment.

Coffee time became easier once we had a dedicated fellowship hall. We eliminated the mugs for health reasons, stopped the goodies, added hot chocolate, made coffee in the kitchen and put the urns on restaurant carts to wheel them to the hall. One of the downsides of this arrangement was the need to move the cart out of fellowship hall and through an adult Sunday school class in session to get to the kitchen once the urns were empty. In addition, the carpeting suffered from stains.

Recently, our coffee station underwent another transformation. We have a new permanent setup that allows coffee to be made and cleaned up quickly on the spot. We even have two videos on our church website that explain the process. The area has a floor that is easily washed, cabinets for all the supplies, urns with their own water supply, ample counters and a sink. There is lots of space for fellowship, too. It is a wonderful improvement.

I hope this helps you see how some churches meet specific practical needs and adjust to new situations. If you have any of your church's improvement ideas to share with us, please comment below. 


1 comment:

  1. Imagine with all your mind. Believe with all your heart. Achieve with all your might.
    Annyeong!Thanks for sharing your interesting article, please do visit my site too God Bless :)


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