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Chris Yaw Interviews Amy Butler: Mainline Turnaround Takes Fortitude

November 12, 2012

Taken with permission from

Ten years ago Calvary Baptist Church in Washington, D.C. was near death's door.

With less than 40 people in the pews, nearly all well-past retirement, many thought the church would close.

But, God had a different plan. Thanks to a new stadium built nearby, neighborhood gentrification, and a renewed sense to do ministry in context, Pastor Amy Butler's story is one that's getting a lot of publicity. Learn from this determined shepherd the importance of vision, compassion, and fortitude.


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It's pastors like Amy Butler who are going to lead the renewal of traditional churches. Here are my notes from the interview:

Grow in Context
Sure, it's hard when your best days are behind you - but the only way to bring them back is by changing the days in front of you. Pastor Amy's vision to bloom where she was planted eventually took off. 

Get an Intern
There are seminaries, colleges, and grants available - and if you think about it there's plenty of work to do. Amy's determination to find people to share the work has paid off big time.

Invest in Your Website!
Pastor Amy said it was pulling teeth to get the $9,000 per year being invested in newspaper ads redirected toward the website, but it's been crucial. She has her website redone every 2-3 years - an investment that's responsible for brining in all her young folk.

About Amy Butler
Amy Butler has served as Senior Pastor at Calvary Baptist Church since 2003.  Before entering parish ministry Amy directed a shelter for homeless women in downtown New Orleans, Louisiana.  Urban engagement is Amy's passion; she finds life at Calvary to be an adventure of living relationship with God, transforming us individually and our world as a whole.  It's her greatest pleasure to serve with Calvary's community of Christ-followers who actively live in expectation of God's transforming work.

Amy grew up in Hawaii, where her parents still live.  She has lived all over the world and traveled extensively.  Because of the rich cultural background of her family, she loves the opportunity that diversity provides and treasures this unique quality of Calvary's congregation.  Amy went to college in Texas, at Baylor University, where she earned a BA in political science and religion as well as an MA in church history.  In Zürich, at the International Baptist Theological Seminary, Amy earned a BDiv (MDiv equivalent) and worked on the seminary staff through its relocation to Prague, Czech Republic.  Most recently Amy graduated from Wesley Theological Seminary with a DMin in preaching in 2009.  Amy lives with her family in Washington, D.C.

Books Amy Recommends
Switch - Dan and Chip Heath
We Refuse to Lead a Dying Church - Paul Nixon
The Art of Pastoring - William Martin


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