As Buffalo Valley Church of the Brethren celebrates 150 years in its current location, I am going to look at a few key words to help describe how the church has maintained its effectiveness throughout the past 150 years.
In the body of people at Buffalo Valley are many who have been at Buffalo Valley for more than 50 years. They have served in ministry and leadership over that period of time and have guided the church through a lot of changes. However, these men and women have not made it a priority to hold onto leadership as the next generation of leaders has matured. Rather, these older, experienced people have transitioned out of most of the leadership roles in the congregation. However, they have not “checked out”. They are still available and are still ready and willing to give their opinions and counsel. But they do not demand that their ideas be implemented. And when they are not, they do not cause strife nor do they leave.
At a recent funeral someone testified to the attitude of the man who had just died; who was a strong leader in the church for many years. He told the story of how more than 20 years ago, this man wanted to leave the existing church building standing, even while a new building was being constructed. The congregation decided to tear down the old building. This man accepted this decision and moved forward without bitterness or division; accepting the will of the congregation’s leadership and still maintaining an active role in the congregation.
It is that kind of leadership and transfer of leadership that gives a church of 150 years a foundation for success. Buffalo Valley doesn’t always get it right…and people have certainly “taken their ball and gone home”. However, one of the reasons that Buffalo Valley experienced its all time attendance high this past Easter Sunday is because of the experience of Buffalo Valley’s people.