Reimagining Church

Thriving Congregations Initiative: New Models for the 21st Century

Personal Reflections on Conversations With Rev. Tyler Sit

Jim Hawkins

Personal Reflections on Conversations With Rev. Tyler Sit

October, 2021

I was total absorbed by the presentation of the Reverend Tyler Sit on October 9, 2021. The presentation was part of a program entitled Reimaging Church, an initiative of the Yale Divinity School. Representatives of 9 Christian churches in Connecticut virtually attended Reverend Sit’s presentation.

Tyler Sit is a young ordained Christian minister engaged in “church planting” in Minneapolis, Minnesota. “Church planting”, a term unfamiliar to me, is a process that results in a new local Christian church being established, as distinguished from church development where a new practices is created within an existing church.

The novelty and merit of Rev. Sit’s ideas was immediately apparent. In fact, I quickly fell behind thinking about what I just heard rather than keeping up with what he said next. The presentation was delivered with great clarity and enthusiasm. He offered a five-step structure for analyzing the opportunities for a new church or a new activity within an existing church. While all of his ideas are worthy of further examination, some of his ideas sparked my immediate attention.

Reverend Sit discussed a novel idea that you begin the evaluation of a new project, a new church or a new activity by an existing church, by agreeing to a set of non-negotiable principles. Rev. Sit’s non- negotiable principles were 1) Christian, 2) multi-generational, 3) creation sensitive and 4) in Minneapolis. Rev. Sit then described a five-step analytical process he used to decide to “plant” the New City Church.

Throughout this development process he repeatedly urged that you check in with the community, listen carefully to everyone who cares to talk with you, keep learning and set a hard deadline for the complete reexamination, modification or discontinuance of the project.

If you are looking for a way to get started, Rev. Sit suggested we might start where he did, by taking a prayer walk throughout the entire community “to see what God is up to” and what the community needs.

Photo by Ashley Batz on Unsplash