Within the Presbyterian church I am interning for this summer, the values and attitudes towards the work that is done is self evident. There is a lot of emphasis on the caring of followers, especially as those followers need emotional, spiritual, or even sometimes physical help as they realize their own connection to God. The mission of the church is to help show God’s love in the world, and the leadership does so by caring deeply for the congregants. Each meeting we have, different congregants who need different degrees of support are brought up. We try to think of ways to assist those members, especially in this time of social distancing. The whole leadership team is made aware of those congregants who may need extra support. In this way, the church’s value of spreading love and helping people realize their faith is apparent.
Interactions between staff members is informal, but is also representative of the larger mission of the church. At every meeting, the members of the staff are checked in on by the senior pastor. The concerns of the staff are clearly considered a priority — for instance, a staff member at our last meeting requested the entire staff go through racial sensitivity training in light of the shift in tone of the Black Lives Matter movement, as we know that silence is harmful. Not only are the concerns of the staff addressed, but also their accomplishments and successes. Staff meetings are places where everyone comes together to discuss major church business, but also a place for the staff to gather in a community of sorts. Because church life is typically slowed down in the summer, some people are getting ready to take some time off and those staff members are celebrated for their work and achievements.
Both of these aspects of work in the church are major strengths among the people who do follow these leaders. A major problem across America for church life is the diminishing numbers. Though the church I am interning at is, I believe, more welcoming than some of the other churches in our nation, the numbers of followers continues to drop. This is a difficult weakness, and not one that can be solved easily, but hopefully as the staff continues to present their strengths of value and care, the membership will grow. The only recommendation I can offer to this church is to be more active in the surrounding community through mission work, both as social distancing continues and as it is safe to be changed.