Remember the old nursery activity when you interlaced your fingers and said, “Here is the church and here is the steeple; open the doors and see all the people”?
Though quite simplistic, it did identify two of the three Ps that I believe are the heart of the church of yesterday as well as today.
The first P is the PEOPLE. Obviously, without people there would be no church. Many congregations today are struggling to capture people in order to survive. Fortunately, at Bower Hill, we are not in a survival mode. Our past year’s average attendance was close to 50% of our membership, and the young children that gather at the steps with Brian on Sunday represent a vibrant collection of younger members. Granted, we would love to have the membership of the Rev. Barker days, but we are not doing too badly.
The second P is PROGRAM. From our mission activity in Haiti to the meals and overnights of Family Promise, we are engaged in seeking ways to make our local and global community whole. Members of our congregation care for each other and continue to reach out to various ages and needs.
The third P is PLACE. Sociologists have documented how important a familiar place is to each of us. Whether it is the table where we always throw our car keys, the arrangement of our office furniture or the pew we sit in on Sunday morning, PLACE is significant! The place we have a developing concern for is the building that is home to Bower Hill Community Church. Peeling paint, cracked sidewalks, rotting wood, all threaten our safety as well as our attractiveness to new members. In the very near future, you will here more about how together we can care for our third P. It is not only the place where we worship, but it is our staging area where we launch out to spread the love of the Christ.