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.
One of the things that is a potential benefit for a church with a long history is stability. A church that has been in existence for many years can offer the stability of a proven ministry program and the opportunity to know that the ministry is not going to go away in one generation of leaders. But something important has to happen in order for stability to happen in a way that still leads to “ability” to accomplish the mission.
Over time, a church has to have “makeovers” and updates to its facility and programs. I think of the Empire State Building. The building itself has been around for a very long time; but it looks very different on the inside than it did when it was first constructed. There have been major changes to the interior of the building. Business is conducted differently inside than it was when it was first constructed. A church must be like this. A church which has been in existence for 100 years had better do things a lot differently today than it did 100 years ago. The message and methods have to change somewhat, though the core truth of the gospel needs to be consistent. The facility needs to be updated and the way “church” is done needs to have changed.
At Buffalo Valley the facility is significantly different and changes have been made to the programs, the music and other aspects of ministry have changed greatly in 150 years. Stability is a blessing in a church ministry that has been around for a long time. Stability can lead to the “ability” for the church to impact the community for generations.