This past weekend, I got to spend a day leading Messiah Lutheran Church's Church Council Retreat!
As the 16 of us sat around a long table at the Elk Lake Heritage Preserve, you could hear hunters in the background taking shot at pheasants, watch plenty of snowmobilers enjoying a sunny day, and there was coffee to last us all day long. We talked about everything from the changing demographics of rural Minnesota to the economic challenges that people face in farming communities to the bright spots of the nearly 700 member city.
It was so encouraging to see this diverse group of leaders (who ranged from teachers, entrepreneurs, farmers, business owners and retired nurses and professors) discuss the real needs of their community and how their church might become an even brighter spot to the people who now live there. We talked about the challenges that many families face with time these days, what it might look like to spend more intentional time in the community and what values the church wants people to notice when they walk in their building.
The wealth of experience, extensive knowledge and great compassion that this group has got me super excited for rural churches across America. If this nearly all "Hoffman born and raised" church council can think outside the box of how things have always been done, any church can! And let's face it, the needs of America today are drastically different then they were 50 years ago, but you wouldn't know it from most American churches.