Case Study: Passionate Spirituality at First Presbyterian Church of Chili

chili2The First Presbyterian Church of Chili is engaged in a program of re-discovery and redevelopment. This has occurred as a result of its participation in the Natural Church Development (NCD) program. They are one of the first churches in our Presbytery to commit to this program. NCD helps churches to explore eight characteristics of healthy and growing churches and activities which develop strong churches.

While their first NCD survey suggested the need for attention in all eight areas, passionate spirituality was identified as a priority. Leaders recognized that at the core of passionate spirituality is worship. They have altered worship activities to foster greater appeal to individuals’ spiritual styles and to appeal to individuals across the life span.

As a result the Sunday Circle of worshiping and learning children has grown; prayers have taken on a new meaning as sung responses have been introduced; and there is a prayer chain. A once-a-month blended worship service has introduced members and visitors to different forms of music and spiritual reflection.

From feedback, both formal and informal, the congregation has re-discovered the potency of music ministry in fueling spirituality and in sharing it with others in the community.

Recently First Presbyterian Church of Chili was awarded $300 by the Presbytery Foundation of Genesee Valley towards the cost of 80 copies of the Presbyterian Hymnal Supplement, Sing the Faith

A second survey administered in 2008, provided data that showed significant progress in passionate spirituality as well as all seven of the other quality characteristics.

Submitted by Virginia Harkness