We continue to look forward to our Triennial Conference Sessions held in Findlay this coming July. You can find all the information at https://cggc.org/2022-triennial-general-conference-sessions/. Our theme is REIMAGINE and we’ve taken time to explore that theme over the past few months and will continue to do so throughout the rest of 2022.
How do you start to reimagine? What does it mean to reimagine the church and its ministry in a world that’s in chaos when the effectiveness of our tried and tested forms of church is in question? Where do you even begin? Most of us typically begin with some kind of imitation. “I visited XYZ church and they did this… we should try that here” or “I’ve heard about churches doing ABC to reach their neighborhoods, we ought to do the same thing here.” Imitation isn’t a bad thing. There’s nothing new under the sun (Ecclesiastes 1:9) and I’m a big believer in learning from others rather than trying to recreate the wheel. There are two limitations with imitation: 1) imitation doesn’t always take context into consideration. What works in one context will not necessarily work in another context or it may need to be adapted to make it work. For instance, a blue grass jamboree that worked in a rural context may not go so well in an urban context that’s more into the rhythms of rap and hip hop. 2) imitation requires someone to imitate and in our present moment, there may not be a model/person/church to imitate. You may have to be the first to adapt, innovate and pioneer in your efforts to reimagine.
Prayer is always a great place to start. I know it sounds cliché, but we dare not reimagine something as important as the way we do church without seeking the Lord and asking His Spirit to guide us as we reimagine how to be His people in faithful and helpful ways. I’m not just talking about perfunctory prayers to open and close meeting times, but rather seeking, waiting on and hearing from the Lord. Seek the Lord and ask Him to broaden your imagination and spark your innovative abilities. Ask the Lord to help you see the possibilities that He sees. Ask the Lord to show you how to be good news and how to both demonstrate and proclaim good news to your neighbors, coworkers, classmates and friends. Ask the Lord to open up opportunities for you to experiment and pilot efforts to meet new people and introduce them to Him. Ask Him to bring His kingdom in your midst.
In addition to prayer, I’m convinced that there’s an aspect of reimagining that really amounts to rediscovery. It’s not so much dreaming up new ways to be the church or to live as the people of God as much as it is rediscovering Jesus and His mission here on earth and what that means for us. How would your community change if your congregation were to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness? What would result if your congregation began living as sent missionaries to your community? Imagine our churches operated as a priesthood of all believers in a more authentic manner than we’ve experienced in our present, uneven, clergy-laity divide? What would change if your congregation began to live out the Great Commission and the Great Commandment in a more genuine manner? A lot of this reimagining is primarily rediscovering what Jesus intended for His followers.
Lastly, you can’t do this work on your own. It takes a people working together. I know of one congregation in the CGGC who is currently taking their leadership team through Brad Brisco’s book, RETHINK. They’re working through the chapters together, meeting regularly to discuss the nine shifts and what it might mean for their congregation as they reimagine their future together. May their tribe increase! What would it look like for you to pull together a team of fellow Jesus followers to seek Him, to rediscover and reimagine how He might want to use your local congregation to carry out His mission? My prayer is that over the course of the next year, in congregation after congregation across the CGGC, we will find groups of leaders gathering together to intentionally reimagine their approach to ministry that alters the way in which they carry out the mission of Jesus here on earth.
What do you need to do to get started? Who do you need to invite to join you in the journey?
CGGC eNews—Vol. 16, No. 19