Worship and Observations at Park Street Church in Boston, MA

ParkStreet Church 01Today I had the privilege of attending worship and making other observations about the historic Park Street Church in Boston, MA. If a little background on this congregation would be of help to you, here is a statement on their website about their beginning:

In a time of increasing apostasy from the gospel and rising Unitarianism in New England, a small group of devoted Christians, primarily from Old South Church, formed a “Religious Improvement Society” in 1804 to hold weekly prayer meetings and lectures. Though they faced opposition from all sides, the group continued to meet for six years, founding Park Street Church in February of 1809. This small group acted in faith that God would use their efforts to accomplish no small task. And he did. By April of 1809, our location in the center of town was chosen to serve as a beacon of the hope we have in Christ. By 1810, the small congregation had grown and raised over $100,000 to complete the construction of our current meetinghouse.

On their worship folder and website along with their name they have these three words: Evangelical. Congregational. International. In support of the international characteristics, the pastor indicated today that they have people from 60 national connected with the congregation.

Park Street has many things to offer, except for a parking lot. You cannot park at Park Street. Well, that is not exactly true. The parking meters on the street are not enforced on Sundays, and they do have an arrangement with an underground parking lot a block away that if your get your ticket validated at the church, you park at a reduced rate. That is, if you enter the parking building and turn to the left rather than the right. There are two underground parking lots that use the same entrance. Like a UPS delivery truck driver, I always turn to the right unless I have no other choice.

Keep reading to see my observations about this congregation. If you have questions about what I saw, leave a comment, or send me an email to BullardJournal@gmail.com. 

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Nearsighted Vision in Congregations 003

The build-it-and-they-will-come is a shortsighted vision. What would be a farsighted vision?

Fred Lane said in response: "Reverse the paradigm. Go to people outside the church and get involved with them first. Enlarge the number of people that are likely to choose to come to your church. Build when your church is big enough to require more space."

Dwight Stinnett said in response: "Did anyone ask if a new building was the priority for young families with children? Did anyone look at their neighborhood and see what needs might be there???"

Karen Fraser Moore said in response: "Look around the community. Where do young families with children gather in groups? Go there! What services can you provide these families? Age appropriate activities for their children? Give aways?"

What is your response?


Nearsighted Vision in Congregations 002

Comment here, or follow the dialogue HERE which is on George's Facebook Page at https://www.facebook.com/BullardJournal.

Touch Points for Empty Nester Households [A follow up to a post from Thursday.]
The following are some of the touch points for ministry alongside Empty Nesters that congregations need to consider.
Empty Nesters . . .

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How to Keep Youth Engaged with Church and Faith? Pay Them. [www.BaptistNews.com]

Matt Overton MowtownThe Thursday Dialogue of the FaithSoaring Churches Learning Community recently hosted Matt Overton of Columbia Presbyterian Church in Vancouver, Washington to talk about his innovative approach to youth ministry involving Mowtown Teen Lawn Care.

Baptist News Global picked up on that dialogue and posted a story entitled How to Keep Youth Engaged and Faith? Pay Them. Click HERE to read the article.

Frustration transformed into innovation for a Washington State youth minister tired of losing young people to other activities and smartphones.

His solution: pay them.

It all started for Matt Overton with a growing trend of absenteeism in his youth group at Columbia Presbyterian Church in Vancouver, Wash., over the past several years.

It Is Great When a Future Story of Ministry Comes Together

Grace UMC Future StoryThe greatest crescendo experience for the Spiritual Strategic Journey process with a congregation is the presentation of the future story to the congregation--preferably during their main weekly worship service or services.

Today was the crescendo experience for the Grace United Methodist Church in St. Augustine, Florida. They have three worship services on Sunday mornings, and it was presented in all three. Presenting in this manner speaks to one of their secondary challenges--they have too little available parking to only present the story once.

The Future Story of Ministry Writing Team presented the story around three themes of Involving People, Inspiring People, and Inviting People. It was supported by the theme of Increasing the Leadership Capacity of congregational participants.

They used the image of a tree with roots, a trunk, and branches. They involved the congregation in each service in their role of the leaves on the tree.

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