From a Pastor's Desk

A series of opinion articles from rostered ministers and lay leaders from our Synod.


Congregational Revitalization Event Draws Many Participants

Oct 16, 2018

By Pastor John Krahn

Over a hundred clergy and church leaders from 35 churches gathered at Ascension Lutheran Church in Deer Park on September 29th to both learn and share ways to revitalize their churches. The Church Revitalization Workshop was led by Rev. Dr. John H. Krahn, Long Island church consultant and author.  Among many other things, those who attended learned how to reclaim their Inactive Members, discovered how to more effectively witness to the community they served, saw the need not to just get more members but to make more disciples, and learned ways to increase the generosity of their members.

Not only did members from the MNYS attend, but nearly a third of the attendees came from five other denominations. The ecumenical nature of the workshop added to the richness of the experience for everyone. It also pointed to both the need and the desire that all denominations become more intentional in sharing Christ with our increasingly secular society.

Dr. Krahn stated, “Although Christ instructs us to participate in meeting the needs of our neighbors who are hurting, and so we should, there are many community groups meeting these needs as well. Yet, the church is the only institution providing for the spiritual needs of our neighbors, and if we do not meet them, no one else will. Therefore, sharing Christ with our neighbors must be our primary mission as the church. Is there anything better we can do for our neighbors then to share with them the gift of a new life in Christ that lasts into eternity?”

When participants were asked to evaluate the workshop, here are a few of their comments:

     “Engaging presentation, especially through personal anecdotes.”

     “I’ve been deeply touched by the experience of attending today’s workshop. I’ve gained perspective on my faith and a vision to share with other members of my church.”

     “This workshop motivates me to become more involved in my church and community.”

     “Great job. It was a very successful event!”

     “Just wanted you to know how much I enjoyed the Church Revitalization Workshop Saturday. We definitely have some new strategies to employ, hopefully bringing new disciples into the flock.”


This event was sponsored by the Center for Evangelical Mission, a group of ELCA clergy, deacons, and lay people who are renewing the call to fulfill Christ’s Great Commission. This is the third event offered in our synod by the Center.

The next event planned by the CEM will be an all-day workshop on Saturday, November 3 called: “Faithful Innovation in a Disruptive Age" led by Dr. Dwight Zscheile, Vice President of Innovation and Associate Professor of Congregational Mission and Leadership at Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota and author of “The Agile Church- Spirit-Led Innovation in an Uncertain Age.” It will be held at Grace Lutheran Church and School in Malverne, Long Island, NY. This event, along with the first two events, is being supported by a Leadership Development Grant from the Gathered Committee of the Strategic Planning Committee of the Metro New York Synod.

To learn how to join this effort by subscribing to the Center for Evangelical Mission and for more information on future events, please contact Rev. Dr. Richard O. Hill at [email protected].