Executive Minister's Desk

The Regional Synod of New York


Dear RSNY Church Family and Friends,

In these post-COVID days many of us are concerned about finding ways to entice people back to church. As your Executive Minister, I listen to members at Congregational gatherings on how to support small church Ministry to help them grow. RSNY believes that All churches, large and small membership are essential to the calling of the Lord Jesus. We as a Synod know firsthand the positive effects a small church membership can have on members’ faith journey.

Many of my colleagues understand how fewer members mean more individual attention, often better teaching connection of biblical application, and more meaningful participation in our faith walk. In some aspects of our witnesses, that means success. While I do believe that we should look to add to our church membership as part of our mandate from Christ when He said, “Go and make disciples”, one of the critical challenges to addressing the decline in church membership is the temptation to focus more on growth in numbers and restructuring churches than exploring other opportunities for the proclamation of the Gospel. Another challenge, especially for small churches, as many of our Church leaders have shared with me, are the substantial concerns caused by the lack of adequate funding: offerings, and grants that make it incredibly challenging or impossible for churches to comply with paying adequate salaries for Ministers of Word and Sacrament, developing programs for community engagement and resources to help people grow in their Christian Faith.  After attending many conferences on Mega Building, I saw little hope of positive indicators that suggest growth and success in Christian Nurturing and Christian Formation in the Faith.

On the other side, I celebrate church leaders, of both large and small membership, when I listen to their Christian engagement in their communities. The way churches provide Food Pantry Ministries, feeding hot meals to their neighbors, helping their senior members to health care centers. I celebrate their hearts to provide clothing for the needy, volunteerism in offering tutorial services to young people in their educational pursuit, and the usage of church space to discuss community improvement and advocacy of criminal and violence elements in society.

Although there is a decline in church membership in large congregations as well, both leaders of large and small churches can maintain a focus on Spiritual transformation rather than numbers. In our era of healthy churches of all sizes and the unhealthy spirit among churches, we as a Synod continue to be prayerful for the furtherance kingdom building.


Rev. Dr. Micheal Edwards, Executive Minister