I really like Mike Slaughter. He’s the first United Methodist pastor I was ever aware of with “rock star” status. He’s the pastor at Ginghamsburg Church in Tipp City. That’s just north of the Dayton airport and half an hour from downtown. In spite of its remote location, it is the largest United Methodist Church in Ohio and in the top 10 in the U.S.
Now remember that contemporary worship was a key part in Rev. Slaughter’s efforts to move Ginghamsburg from the sleepy congregation of less than 100 to the more than 4,000 who attend worship every weekend.
And I know what some of you are thinking. After a decade or more you are finally getting your church to think about contemporary worship and now they’re moving the target. But that really isn’t what he’s saying. He says that contemporary worked because it was fresh, new and energized. But after all of these years the contemporary approach is becoming just as stale as the traditional was.
So what’s the take away?
I say that we should always be looking at what your church is doing with a critical eye. Just because we have always done it doesn’t mean it can’t change.
If Mike Slaughter is willing to examine changing the thing in his church that attracts 4,000 people every week, should there be anything in your church that shouldn’t be the focus of some holy conferencing?
Rev. Slaughter went to Tipp City straight out of seminary. He tells the story that his District Superintendent promised him that he would get him out of Ginghamsburg and into a better church just as quickly as he could. By being open to change, he got to a better church but not by moving, by improving where he already was. Wouldn’t that be a great way for all of us to get to a better church?
P.S. I really can’t talk about Ginghamsburg without sharing this link with you. It’s a great video about what amazing things can happen when a church buys into an absurdly ambitious mission project. By the way, they succeeded. Click here for the video.