It's a problem nearly every church faces: how to motivate the beloved to making their faith community a higher priority.
Longtime pastor of Wilshire Baptist Church in Texas George Mason wrestles with it like everyone else. While he admittedly has not solved the conundrum, he has found some things that work, including small groups and gifts assessment tools to better link peoples' spiritual gifts to their work.
In this interview George also talks about the considerable work he's done (along with the Lilly Foundation), to train young ministers for his church and denomination.
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The competition for "churchtime" has never been hotter - sports, studying, and volunteering keep kids, and their minders, very busy. Besides guilt and circuses, what's the church got to offer? How about a deeper connection to mission - here are my notes from the interview.
Our Mission is Training Pastors
George says 'mission' is in his congregation's DNA, so when he and his predecessor saw that training healthy clergy for a wider charge might be one of the congregation's charisms, the task unfolded - and has born much fruit.
Sure it's not uncommon in bigger churches - but George talks about the huge sway this staffer has in his congregation - as a reminder of how important mission is - which can alleviate a lot of the stress that comes around 'change.'
Handling Sparse Attendance
For the younger set, George sets rules like earning attendance points to qualify to go on trips. For older folk he uses the Strengths Finder strategy that invited people to take an online gifts inventory in order to match them with tasks that are fulfilling and needful.
About George Mason
The Rev. Dr. George Mason has been Senior Pastor at Wilshire Baptist Church since 1989. He holds degrees from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and the University of Miami where he played quarterback. George is a nationally recognized leader in his denomination, the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. He founded a Lilly Endowment funded program for vocational residency. He and his wife Kim have three children and two grandhildren.