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From left: moderator Monsignor Vincent Harcourt Blackett and panellists: Reverend Lucille Baird, Reverend Canon Dr. Geoffrey Mayers, Reverend Joel Cumberbatch.

It is imperative that churches have congregations that are made up of engaged members.

This is the view of Senior Pastor at Mount Zion’s Missions International, Reverend Lucille Baird. She, along with, Reverend Canon Dr. Geoffrey Mayers and Reverend Joel Cumberbatch were guests on a panel that examined “Congregational Engagement” this morning at the Solidarity House in Harmony Hall, St. Michael.

The event was hosted by the National Initiative for Service Excellence. Speaking to the audience, which was made up primarily of members of various faith-based organisations across the island, Baird said that the topic was intriguing because it was necessary and very timely.

She added that to manage a church at this time was more difficult than years past because “we are in the last days”.

“People are more fickle than before, but the Bible spoke about it; ‘they will seek to have teachers as their own kind’… The church membership is not the same as it used to be — there are lots of back doors now to church. You have members who can tell you, they don’t have to come to church because I can sit and watch TBN and get the same word of God, the same preaching and anointing, the same ministry. It is difficult to manage church today because earlier we had a different concept of church…

“We are seeing a lot of varying representations of congregations. We are seeing a lot of varying representations of church leadership and church membership,” Baird said.

“As a minister of God for 32 years, I have seen significant changes in the terrain in the churches and I would want to say that I agree with Kim Tudor. So the only thing that will keep us as a church, that will allow us as ministers of the church, as visionaries is to be able to retain our congregations, to be able to fulfil our goals and to make sure all the mandates that have been given to us by God will be accomplished is to have engaged members.

“We can no longer afford to have members that will just come to church and we will not see them maybe for the next month or two months; maybe see them at Easter or Christmas,” she said.

Prior to the panel discussion, Chief Executive Officer at NISE, Kim Tudor, went through a series of findings with the leaders to define some of the reasons that members were not as engaged as they†would like them to be and she gave them strategies of how to help their congregations to get to the place where they would prefer them to be. (KC)

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