- Growing UMCs are creative and very much in-tune to their local context
- We didn’t use the hymnal once during a variety of worship settings; did sing a few hymns
- Focus on innovation, experimentation and multi-site initiatives
Worshipping at The Gathering this morning was a perfect metaphor for the week and the future of the UMC. The Gathering is a 6 year old new church start that took over a defunct 80 year old United Methodist Church. It is young, rapidly growing, and has a modern worship style. Looking at the picture above, you can see the worship space is old but has been updated to meet the needs of a 21st century church. Worship had energy, passion, and relevance, something that so many UMCs need to learn, and quickly.
Over the past few days, there was an emphasize on simplicity; let’s refocus the church on what we can do well such as worship, small groups, and service/mission projects. All the churches we saw that were growing and healthy did all 3 of these incredibly well. Worship that speaks to God moving in our lives today, small groups that serve as the front lines of care and mission that really changes the world. The Gathering, a young congregation with an average worship of 700, gave away their entire Christmas Eve offering to dig wells in Mozambique, to the tune of $116,000. Lives are literally changed and saved as a result.
I had a great serendipitous (likely Holy Spirit initiated) conversation with a man I randomly met at dinner Thursday night. He was alone at the table next to me and happened to be the coordinator of multi-site projects at his church. I picked his brain about launching a new campus. Our process to launch weekly Fusion has been incredibly similar to launching their new campuses as well. Over and over again I was affirmed that our team has been moving in the right direction for a fantastic launch in a few weeks.
Over and over again I got the sense God was telling me and the launch team to “go!” The idea of a second campus of Mitchell First United Methodist Church, going back 40 years though a number of pastors and leaders, is now going to be tried and a reality. It is different, creative, innovative, multi-site and experimental. There are few things in the world that make me this excited!
So what are we going to say about these things? If God is for us, who is against us? (Romans 8:31)