From Revitalization to Living Out Vitality
by Bryan Malley
Ten years into Pastor Ben’s tenure as leader and shepherd of Mercy Commons Covenant Church, this community is not the same—nor should it be. Pastor Ben was originally called to this congregation with the challenge of helping “revitalize” its ministry.
New life (and new vitality) necessitates change, and a major part of Ben’s impact here at MCCC has been to serve as a nonanxious presence helping all of us to navigate the changes necessary to cultivate our vitality as a church.
When Ben and Jodi came to MCCC 10 years ago, their kids were the only kids. A thriving church benefits deeply from being multigenerational, and we’ve seen great progress in building up attendance among a variety of age groups in the last decade.
“Ben has provided leadership so as to direct our church into the area of ministry best suited to the church, which was to minister to young families interested in being a part of a serious church, but not previously able to connect with any established traditional churches,” said Jim Elving, a long-time church leader and member.
Pastor Ben has also helped lead our church body through difficult decisions to end legacy ministries, worship expressions, and other aspects of our life together that were not directly contributing to the growth of our church family. His spiritual leadership has helped focus us all on putting our energy behind things that will stretch us and help us grow.
“The spirit of our church has become quite peaceful and joyful … while still desiring to grow in effective and relevant ministry,” Elving said.
In addition to leading MCCC as preacher and counselor, Pastor Ben has also been an essential part of the church leadership structure that has worked hard over the last 10 years to move our community forward in ministry. His experience and wisdom have been essential in helping leadership teams decide what ministries to partner with, and what strengths and opportunities to capitalize on.
Every church is on a journey of vitality, whether its traveling forward or backward in strength and impact. We all have a part to play, and Ben’s leadership over the last 10 years has most often brought out the best in us.
When asked about the single most impactful change for him personally, Elving said, “The joy and pleasure of seeing new families, some previously having had trouble connecting with a church, come and be an active part of our fellowship.”