I was at a conference outside of Boston this week, and stopped in at the church I used to attend when I lived up there. New Colony is today a healthy, vibrant church that impacts their community with an authentic Gospel. It is my favorite example of how a local congregation can choose to change and turn its fortunes around.

When I first moved to Massachusetts, New Colony was home to a few dozen “misplaced southerners” and a couple of local families. I remember the service when “Dr Gloom” told us we needed to do something different or we were going to wither away. And so we struggled and we planned, but the renewed church began when Pastor Jack came. (The Summer children’s daycamp he started is still going strong, still “the” place to send elementary aged kids.) And he led us to update our facilities and build new.

It’s the facility I put long hours into helping build. I opened the door of the kitchen utility closet I insisted the builder add under the stairs. I reminisced with the Music Director about how we had to close off one of the windows to put in the sprinkler system water pipe.

But more than that, I sang with them in choir practice. It’s not a big church, and the choir is less than 20. But they love one another. They greet everybody with genuine concern. They joke with one another with the ease of good friends.

What makes that a successful church is not its size (150) or it’s music (the song was “I’ll Fly Away”).  What makes New Colony successful is that they understand John 10:10 – they love one another.