By Rev. Steve Zimmerman
We are on the move again! Our “corporate office” is relocating from Danville, Virginia to Martinsville, Virginia. The reason is to be closer to Angela’s work at her new church. This transition is also fortunate because my commute to the church where I am serving as interim pastor is about the same distance away. We are excited and weary for yet another ministry move.
The process of moving over the years has allowed us to be open to new ideas and possibilities. It has also reminded me of some tried and true things that could apply to thriving in church life. Having your house and your church in order are good things!
Our first challenge in moving is to prioritize what to keep and what to throw away. Early in our marriage, I suggested to Angela that every five years we pretend to move even if we haven’t moved recently just to see what we really need versus what we have collected that we will never use again. That has not always been the case. But I wonder how much stuff (real, emotional, or spiritual) your church is carrying around that hinders the work of a vibrant church? Maybe it’s time you need to do some spring cleaning!
Over the past few moves we have gotten ourselves acquainted with online house marketing. It is fascinating to look inside not only your future house but also the house you are trying to sell. In the past two weeks, our Danville house has had over 2500 views and 140 saves on one online site. Technology has been an asset and not a liability in getting the word out. It also just makes sense that your church needs to harvest the internet with all its tools to help let your community know what your church’s vision and mission is in these post-pandemic days.
Yet don’t let technology be the only factor! Since we moved to Danville, we have made some wonderful friends. During the first week our house was on the market we did not have much movement. Then, I got the word out to people. In turn they began to share the news. By the middle of the next week, we had our first house tour lined up followed by two other appointments! Never underestimate the human connection in reaching people for your church. Remember the Church is in the People Business. They are front and center in anything we do.
During that first week when it didn’t seem that we were having folks come by to look at our beautiful house, I did not just sit around and wait for something to happen. There was still work to be done. The yard had to be mowed. There were places to be painted. Long-awaited repairs had to be finished. From the church perspective, how many times have we all thought that people were going to come back in droves to the church after the pandemic? Some of us have “sat around” waiting for them to show up. Instead, maybe we need to take a hard look again at how we do church and get back to work making our church community open and inviting to one and all.
Prayer also factored into this move. Even before we put our house on the market, we prayed for discernment for our new house in Martinsville. We feel that this new house is the one the Lord has directed us to help meet our needs. I also prayed on the same morning that I heard about our first appointment that the Lord would send someone our way. I had a peace about me after that prayer that things would be just fine. It just so happened that these same people were the ones who bought our house for the full asking price! If prayer can help sell a house, I wonder what it can do for God’s house!
Don’t forget that we all are in the process of moving. Life does not stand still. Neither should our faith. How are you and your church moving toward the right direction that God is leading you? What are the things you need to do to get ready to move?
These thoughts are from Rev. Steve Zimmerman, the founding partner in the ministry. He works alongside churches in their mission process and small group dynamics. He coordinates the work of the partnership from Danville, Virginia (for a few more days). Contact him for more information about how he can help you.