Like people, all churches have a life cycle, including Trinity. It can be graphed as a bell-shaped curve starting with birth, growing toward maturity and declining through retirement to eventual death. Also, like people, a church’s life cycle typically takes place over a period of 75-100 years. Some congregations close earlier and a few (like Trinity) have exceptionally good genes for longevity, but the point is that no congregation lasts indefinitely.
The good news for churches, though, is that unlike people; churches can have more than one life cycle. Undoubtedly, Trinity has had more than one life cycle. The transformation that took place when the congregation transitioned from German to English as its primary worship language would be a good example. Another would be when Trinity decided to “stay downtown for good”, rather than move to the suburbs. In some ways, a new life cycle constitutes a “new beginning” or “starting over” for a congregation.
With regard to the human aging process, all that we can really do is to live our lives as healthily as we can and hope to delay our demise as long as possible. With congregations, a proactive approach can result in much more than mere longevity. Proactive congregations can start a whole new life cycle. In fact, that’s my plan (and prayer) for Trinity!
So where is Trinity on its current life cycle? To find out, come this Sunday to my Bible Class in the Fellowship Hall @ 9:15 am. We will be asking everyone to fill out a Life Cycle Exercise which will help identify the current “spiritual age” of Trinity. Once we have a handle on that, our next task will be to begin planning how to start a whole new life cycle at Trinity; one that will not only be vibrant and healthy for our members and our community today, but will also effectively serve God’s people for generations to come!
-Pastor Terry Tieman