Jump directly to the Content

Serving Immigrants Saved Our Church

How welcoming in the stranger revived a declining congregation.
Serving Immigrants Saved Our Church

There's a reel of 8mm film shot in 1961 that follows a parade of members of the Church of the Nazarene in Iowa City as they move from their downtown church to a newly constructed facility on property expected to become an upscale, growing community. With few exceptions, the faces in that procession were middle-class whites confident that this fashionable church building would be a legacy for children and grandchildren for generations to come.

By 2002, however, an aging remnant was confronted with dwindling attendance, and they were frightened by the prospect of losing their religious and cultural identity in an increasingly diverse neighborhood, now designated by city officials as "blighted."

The remaining members sensed that their original mission had stagnated and lost focus. Having invested a good portion of their lives in this church, these determined members expressed a willingness to take the risk and adopt a new vision to be the church in this changing context. ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe to Christianity Today magazine. Subscribers have full digital access to CT Pastors articles.

Homepage Subscription Panel

Read These Next

Related
When to Give Your Church Staff a Raise
When to Give Your Church Staff a Raise
Five guidelines to evaluate your staff.
From the Magazine
God Uses Changing Climates to Change Societies
God Uses Changing Climates to Change Societies
In the Bible and in history, crises in creation can lead to reformation.
Editor's Pick
Can This Texas Pastor Lay Hands on an Inmate During Execution?
Can This Texas Pastor Lay Hands on an Inmate During Execution?
Q&A with SBC minister Dana Moore on the power of prayer in a state death chamber.
close