A Case for Turning Point
Many congregations are facing critical decisions concerning the life and health of their churches. The CCCC has developed the Turning Point process to come alongside congregations who are struggling and seeking possible next steps to move forward. The Congregational Church of Chester in Vermont worked with the Conference in this process.
Over the last five years Rev. Susan Moody and the church in Chester have worked closely with the CCCC Church Development Team in a development work. This has resulted in deeper faith, new conversions, and an increased prayer life. Despite the best efforts of the pastor and the membership, the church determined that their current ministry was not sustainable.
They initiated the Turning Point process last year. Leadership from the CCCC presented the three available options: Directed Development, Restart, or Legacy Care. The church members voted for a Restart, choosing to end their current ministry and give resources to a church planter to begin a new local work in a new way for the sake of the Kingdom. The Turning Point Interventionist Team met with the church leadership to write a covenant agreement.
A closing service was held on June 28, 2020. Due to Covid-19, it was a private worship service. However, a video was professionally produced as a remembrance of all the years this church proclaimed the Gospel and reached the lost in that location. Before closing the congregation elected a Transition Board to oversee the church until a replanted church is in place. The Board began its work in July and is working with the Church Multiplication Team to identify a pastor to lead the replanted ministry.
Chester is not the only place where Turning Point is having an impact. A member church in Longmont, Colorado voted to close in 2019 and left its assets to the Conference. Similar to the situation in Chester, a Board was elected to evaluate options for future ministry in this rapidly growing city. Other churches are also considering options presented by this process.
It is estimated that 3500 – 4000 churches close in our nation every year. We are pleased to offer help to churches who are uncertain of their future. We believe together that the local church belongs to Jesus Christ and is his instrument in this world to expand the Kingdom of God. The church is the bride of Christ and Jesus says that even the gates of hell will not be able to stand against it (Matthew 16:18). The Turning Point process restores hope and extends Kingdom ministry.