Albany churches say their future growth depends on diversity - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Albany churches say their future growth depends on diversity

(Source: WALB) (Source: WALB)
(Source: WALB) (Source: WALB)
(Source: WALB) (Source: WALB)
ALBANY, GA (WALB) -

A northwest Albany church is auctioning it's building, as its leadership looks at changes for its ministry's future.  

Many Albany church leaders tell WALB News 10 the key to their future is attracting more diverse and younger congregations.

Liberty Parkway Church officials say their church is 90 years old, the oldest Pentecostal church in Albany.

Lead pastor Tommy Smith and his assistants are now keying the auction of the church building, part of their rebranding of the church's changing ministry, to look more like the community.

"Our church had become an older congregation.  And not everyone wanted to accept the change. That happened with color. It happened with music," said Smith.

Liberty leaders say their plans are a new direction for the church, including downsizing buildings.  

"We are currently searching for a new property. A new location.  That will better fit our needs and what we are wanting to do as a church. To really reach today's generation," said Smith.

I talked to several Albany church pastors about attendance, giving, and their future.  Every pastor said they are seeking diversity, recruiting all members of the community. All races, all backgrounds,  all income levels. But all said especially bringing in young people is a priority.

"Every neighborhood and trying to reach young men and young women, and bring them into the body of Christ," said Sherwood Baptist Church Pastor Ken Bevel.

First United Methodist just celebrated their 175th anniversary in downtown Albany, and say they are seeing more young adults joining as they embrace diversity.

"What we are doing right now is asking, ok where do we see our church alive. Where is God moving in our church. And then what could be. Where do we want to go," said First United Methodist of Albany Senior Pastor Thad Haygood.

Liberty Parkway Church leaders say they want to be a church for everybody in the future, and auctioning their building is one step toward their goals.
"If the church doesn't change, it going to die," said Smith.

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