Blog Post by
Rev. Dr. Craig M. Howard
Presbytery Leader


In the book, Who Moved My Cheese, Spencer Johnson tells the story of a group of mice with an abundance of cheese next door. One day, they go to get the cheese, but it’s gone. The book is about their search for a new supply of cheese. The image I remember most from the book is how the mice couldn’t find their running shoes because they’d been complacent so long. The book ends with the mice finding a new supply of cheese, but they keep their sneakers hanging around their necks, just in case they need them again!

Recently, I had an insightful session meeting at Affton Presbyterian Church. This church has spent the past 18 months moving from location to location without a permanent home. Almost two years ago, as their resources dwindled, Affton took the risk of selling their church building and renting space in a middle school. I remember preaching while the church was in the school and being surrounded by small desks and chairs designed for children! They would set up their worship space and then tear it down and put the room back to the way they found it. But they made the best of it. The church then moved from the school to renting space at Calvary Presbyterian Church. The pastor is bi-vocational, using his time wisely for efficient and adaptive ministry.

Going through these changes has created a congregation with character. They shared how they were afraid that they would lose members as they moved like the Israelites in the wilderness from place to place. To their surprise, very few people left. At each step of the way, they shared how they had to make tough decisions and each time God provided, and they stuck together. As a church, they have been through the fire and have come out on the other side. Affton shows a level of grit and is not afraid of what the future may bring.

Affton has had several learnings from this experience. They learned how to communicate with one another; they now take great strides to make sure everyone is aware of decisions that are being made, and that they have the buy-in of the congregation. They also learned that the best decisions are not top down; each committee is empowered to act on the decisions they make without returning to the session table for permission. They emphasized to me that the church is not the building but the people. As long as the people are willing to be together and be the church, they will always have a place to worship.

This is a congregation that wears their sneakers around their necks! They are ready to change when the time comes. I wonder, do you know where your sneakers are?

Rev. Craig M. Howard


  • Posted July 16, 2019 4:35 pm
    Linda Hawthorne

    I have read that book. It does give you food for thought and we all need to do our part to help our churches work well. We all need to keep our sneakers handy. Everyone in every church has ways of contributing even people who can no longer be physically active have a voice and there wisdom that comes with experiences is as valuable as the strength of the 18 year old mowing the grass or the 30 year old teaching Sunday School. That book and this good reminder helps us remember that all of God’s children are loved and valued.

  • Posted July 16, 2019 4:43 pm
    Charles Pfeifer

    I continue to pray for the Presbytery and particularly for the Road to Reconciliation – Dismantling Racism and Privilege Team. Blessings to you all as you continue on the journey.

  • Posted July 16, 2019 4:45 pm
    Diane McCullough

    It is inspiring to hear of all the creative ways that members of the Presbytery of Giddings-Lovejoy are walking together – sneakers and all – to live a life in Christ.

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