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Finding a New Home

Some congregations discover the need to relocate as a result of their New Beginnings Assessment.

One Disciples congregation prided itself on a longstanding relationship with the college next door. For more than 100 years, they had maintained a ministry to college students, hosted lectures by professors and provided a spiritual home for many in the campus community. Many current members of the church recalled fond memories of student weddings in the sanctuary and social events hosted by the church. Though they didn’t have much room for parking, their location adjacent to the campus allowed many students to walk to the church.

Gradually, over several decades, the congregation’s relationship to the college changed. As the congregation aged, they noticed fewer students attending worship. Those who did attend would typically move away after graduation, grateful for their time at the church, but unable to be involved permanently. Only one or two current members still worked at the school — some were retired and the rest had very little relationship to the college.

During the New Beginnings process, the church leaders began to wonder if God was still calling them to be a “college church.” They noticed that most of their current visitors and members lived on the outskirts of town. They saw demographic information that showed growth in the suburbs. They gauged their own passion for campus ministry and realized they didn’t have the same energy for it that they once had. They discerned God calling them to relocate and serve a new population in the community.

Today, this church is relocating their ministry to a new part of town, with adequate parking and more functional space. They are watching God move in new ways because they chose to adapt to a changing community.