Ring Out the Old—Bring In the New

2015 imageThe year-end statistics are in. 2x2virtualchurch, the blog of Redeemer Lutheran Church in the East Falls neighborhood of Philadelphia, grew again. This year we averaged 1000 readers each week. Often twice that! Although we were deemed to be too small to exist, these statistics prove we are among the largest congregations in the Southeastern Pennsylvania Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America that attempted to close down our ministry.

2×2 could have racked up bigger numbers, but that was not the goal. The site was growing fast. The blog format was becoming cumbersome. There were about 1500 posts—many of them buried by time. Although people were finding posts through search engines, we wanted the site to be more helpful. We posted less frequently while we laid a new foundation.

In the summer, we started reorganize the material already on the site. This is a bit behind our projected schedule, but will soon launch. We learned something from this—daily posting is helpful to growing community.

2×2 started as a simple blog in February of 2011. The goal was to keep our congregation active while under fire. During a six-year challenge, we were locked out of our property, a move that was supposed to drive the last nail in our congregation’s coffin. We had confidence in our mission and wanted to continue. We wanted to do more than just get together for worship. We wanted to be a serving church.

With no property or money and no professional leadership, we just kept going. We used the resources we had—the skills of our members. We learned a lot!

  • We discovered that size doesn’t matter.
  • Money doesn’t matter as much as we think it does.
  • Property is important to local ministry but insignificant to world ministry.
  • Concentration on size, property and wealth inhibits mission.
  • The measures of ministry are not limited to size and wealth.
  • Lay members have skills that the modern Church needs and that many clergy do not have.

While 2×2 doesn’t have all the answers, we do have significant and unique experience.

  • We know what the Church looks like from the outside.
  • We visited more than half of the congregations in our synod and have seen what published statistics don’t tell you.

Here’s our plan for 2015.

  • A revamped website will organize the object lessons posts and the slideshow posts so that they are searchable by text and theme. We hope this accomplished by the end of February.
  • With that accomplished, we will return to more frequent posting.
  • New resources for congregational use will be available. We are working on offering trainings geared to small congregational ministry. The first, Welcome Is A Verb, will be ready to pilot at the end of January. This three-part, online training is a new look at creating a welcoming church environment in an increasingly diverse society. If your congregation would be interested, please contact us by commenting below or by emailing creation@dca.net. We will send an outline of the material and a link to a sample part of the presentation.
  • We know that we will learn a great deal from this pilot project. More courses will follow. These will begin with a series on using Social Media for ministry—something we have helped pioneer at the congregational level.
  • When the dust settles on these large projects, 2×2 will resume offering weekly resources, and add a new feature—monthly and weekly tips for social media posting.
  • Last, but most exciting . . . We will revive our presence in our own community this year.