They may not have Ted Danson or John Ratzenberger, but East Swamp Church wants to be a place where everybody knows your name.When interviewed on Monday, Senior Pastor Gary McNally, who came on board in September, and Pastor Andrew Gysi were all smiles as they described the feel of East Swamp and how they see bringing relevance from the Bible to people's daily lives as one of their greatest strengths.
"If we don't have that relevancy, we won't be able to minister to the people to where they are at in the details, issues, problems and pains of life," said Gysi, who said that one of McNally's most valuable strengths is in his ability to take the Bible's message and make it something that everyone can use.
"If you're not relevant, you're not reaching people," said Gysi. "If you're not relevant, you're not scratching the itch inside."
With a big Christmas push in 2007, the church sent out a mailing that showed a four part series about keeping finances in order.
How can McNally make that relate to the Bible? You can always check out sermons online at www.eastswamp.org.
And while they are proud of their efforts to make their messages relate to everyday life, they are also excited to see their church ministering to several generations.
"Rarely is there a church that is so multigenerational," said McNally.
The church has done anything but "circle the wagons."
"We are a more than 150 year-old church. But we do not act like a 150 year old church," said Gysi.
The church is always trying to evolve to keep the services with the times and the generations. East Swamp has a traditional service for their older members Sunday mornings at 8:30 a.m. and for the younger crowd a more "rocking" contemporary service is offered at 11:00 a.m. And the pastors are always ready and eager to find ways to get the next generation involved in the message of the Bible.
In 2000, the congregation pulled out of the Mennonite denomination, seeing themselves not interpreting scriptures the same way that the Mennonites were.
And while the church respects their Mennonite roots, McNally said they can best serve the people of Upper Bucks County by just being "East Swamp Church" and not having a denomination in their name. McNally explained that with each denomination of Christianity, certain thoughts and preconceived notions come along with it. He wants East Swamp to be a welcoming place where people can come and try it out.
"Where we are as a church today, 5-20 years from now, we will not be that same church. We need to keep being relevant to where the culture is today," said Gysi.
Visit www.eastswamp.org for more information.
David P. Anderson is the editor of The Free Press. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.