Actually, a certain number of churches across the country—and right here in Burlington—close their doors for good every year. But does it make any difference to anyone, apart from a few remaining members? Will their city or their county miss them…or even notice they’re gone?
What did they spend their final years doing? Worshiping and fellowshipping a few times a week, I’m sure. But did it matter to anyone outside the church walls? After all, if their congregations merely “aged out” without replacing themselves, who would know? Maybe the children who grew up in that church but now go elsewhere.
If the purpose of a congregation is to make its members happy by satisfying their preferences and providing a pleasant atmosphere, then they were a “successful” church…until they weren’t.
But if the purpose of a congregation is to find God’s particular will for that church and then do it, then success will ultimately be measured by how that congregation participated in God’s work in that particular community.
In other words, the people who care whether or not a congregation continues to operate or else closes its doors are the people who have experienced God’s kingdom because that church was there.
That’s why congregations who have a kingdom impact are called “mission” churches, and that’s what Shiloh has been learning to be over the last few years.
If Shiloh no longer existed, the people who would feel the impact most would be those to whom Shiloh has directed its mission efforts recently: local people like Family Abuse Services (the Women’s Shelter), Sustainable Alamance (rehabilitating ex-offenders), and those helped by the Pastor’s Discretionary Fund; regional groups like Barium Springs (abandoned and trafficked children) and the Servant Center (homeless veterans); global groups like Wycliffe Translators (Erin Padgett) and Healing Grace (supporting children in Egypt).
You see, stewardship is not about just keeping the lights on and the staff paid. It’s about organizing our resources and efforts to carry out our particular mission. It’s not about making our own situation better. It’s about making God’s will come true in Burlington, Alamance County, North Carolina and the world. It doesn’t take a big church to make that happen; it just takes an obedient church…a mission church.
And that’s what Shiloh is becoming. Praise God for allowing us to participate!
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WELCOME to the Shiloh Presbyterian Church website. Whether you are a member or a visitor, you are welcome you to visit and/or worship with us and we pray that we can make it a time of renewal for you. At Shiloh, you are always welcome to dress as you are comfortable, and you are welcome to sit anywhere during worship, including at any of the tables in the back. There is coffee in the kitchen at the right rear area of the sanctuary. If you have young children with you, you may sit at the tables so that they can draw or color on the children’s bulletin during the service. We also have a nursery just across the hall from the sanctuary for your convenience. If you want to know more about Shiloh Presbyterian or are interested in joining, please speak to the pastor following any service or during any activity or telephone the church office during the week at (336) 524-9900.