Plymouth Church is a warm and welcoming community of faith, poised for continued growth and service. Like many churches, we endured a period of decline during the latter part of the 20th century, but the past 10 years have seen genuine Christian renewal at Plymouth. People here are excited about what the next chapter in Plymouth’s history will bring as we seek to live up to our mission statement here in this city of great need and great opportunity.
Today, there is a palpable sense of revival and renewal at Plymouth Church — a sense that, with God’s help, we can do more and serve more people. This has translated into strong growth in membership and attendance. Reflecting back over the past 10 years, we have steadily expanded Sunday attendance by almost 150%. 2013 average attendance was 244 (during the “program year of Sept-May). During this time we have averaged in the range of 25-30 new members per year and we expect to continue at that average during this interim year which ends shortly. The past several years we have had over 500 on Easter and over 600 on Christmas Eve. Our Membership rolls are currently about 400.
Because of its history of prominence, Plymouth is a church of sizable resources—physical, financial, and otherwise. We are keenly aware of our duty to be good stewards of these resources and, as in the parable of the talents, to increase them. In that spirit, in 2012-13 Plymouth commissioned a Management Task Force, which, together with a group of outside church consultants, conducted a comprehensive study to help us figure out how to make the most of the resources we have and engage our members more in doing God’s work through ministries rather than administrative church management.
As a result, we have recently added two new full-time staff members: an accomplished Church Administrator and a Financial Controller. Moreover, we have reorganized many of our committees into more informal ministry teams, with the goal of allowing members to get involved where they choose and when they feel called, without fear of being roped into endless meetings and untenable time commitments. Given our busy urban congregation, which includes many who have highly demanding professional careers, finding committed volunteers is a challenge, but we believe we are making strides in getting members involved in Plymouth’s ministries outside of Sunday worship. More than 130 members are currently involved in one or more of our ministry teams in one form or another. It is our hope that many of our management efforts over the past few years—in effect, putting our house in order—will pave the way for a new Senior Minister and church leadership to focus more on ministry than administration.