Friday, June 22, 2007
need examples of healthy small churches
The church that I serve has begun Bill Easum's The Complete Ministry Audit. I hold some strong reservations about a number of his assumptions; in general I find much of the church growth movement's focus on marketing to lose the central issue of faithfulness. However, I believe there is worth in hearing his analysis of the church's ministries. As an outside voice, he can bring a new eye to our communal life and and a fresh ear to our struggles for direction. The reason I'm writing about this? The audit is only part of a larger process of discernment and dreaming for our little church and I need some help.
As part of this process, I'm looking for examples of healthy small churches, particularly urban ones. Do you know of churches that fit the bill? Churches for whom faithfulness leads them deeply into spiritual practices, into meaningful and transformative worship, into a missional understanding of themselves that radically reconstructs communal life and individual lives? Do you know of a church for whom faithfulness is so very central that its people will wade into the despair of the human condition and live in the alternate reality of Easter? Do you know of churches that understand mission as something beyond a committee in the church and instead as an indicator of identity for the whole congregation? Do you know churches that celebrate life where members enjoy the company of one another? I'm looking for examples, people! And while I'm open to all kinds of examples, primarily I'm interested in neighborhood churches.
Additionally, I'm looking for resources related to such churches: website design, technology integration ideas, organizational structure, new member "assimilation" (sounds like the Borg!), adult and children's curricula, outdoor signage, financial structure, mission statements (blech), core values, and other important things.
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