Collective vs. Individual Ministry: A Look at a Different Approach to Ministry for Multiple Congregations in a Small Area
There are several places in the United States, particularly in the Midwest, in which there are three or more churches located within 10-15 miles from each other. While some of these congregations are thriving, others are surviving. This paper looks at the question, “Is there a more effective form of ministry for congregations that are in relatively close proximity with each other?” This might mean a new paradigm of doing ministry that enhances the spirit of unity that exists across the fellowship of several churches while also allowing churches to remain individual congregations. It could also mean multiple congregations no longer remaining as their own individual entity but joining together as a collective for the benefit of God’s kingdom. This paper looks at this form of multi-congregational ministry from two perspectives: a case study of the Mequon-Thiensville churches who are moving in the direction of combining ministry between their congregations and a case study of specific churches in Dodge County that are all within 15 miles from each other. This paper does not want paint with a broad brush, suggesting that all churches that are in close proximity should follow one pattern. Rather, the paper intends to shed light on two specific cases with their own unique set of circumstances. This paper hopes to enlighten congregations that are facing similar circumstances to at least ask the question: Is this a way that could improve our ministry in God’s kingdom?