Reimagining Church

Thriving Congregations Initiative: New Models for the 21st Century

Sunday Moments: Centering in Purpose

By Luke Melonakos-Harrison

Throughout the fall, the Reimagining Church group at HPUMC met every other week to discuss the past, present, and future of the church. We spent a lot of time with questions such as: “Why do we come to church? Why do others come to church? What brings people here?” The group recognized that the answers people might have to these questions range from the profound to the mundane, and from the explicitly religious/spiritual to the apparently secular. By exploring these “why” questions, however, we identified two recurring themes: faith in God as the heartbeat of church life and community belonging as the church’s way of meeting needs.

From our discussions, a key idea emerged: “reimagining church” will not mean reinventing our core purpose or identity. Rather, it will mean more deeply centering ourselves in our purpose and creatively expanding the ways of expressing our identity. It will mean critically assessing the church’s habits, norms, and culture to identify barriers to fulfilling that purpose. It will require honesty and self-reflection. It will mean opening our minds about the how while encouraging deeper commitment to the why.

To that end, the group agreed to craft a series of Sunday “moments” focusing on the church’s existing mission and vision statements. Each Sunday, different members of the group will lead the congregation in a reflection and action related to each key phrase in the mission and vision. The first Sunday will introduce the series as a whole by focusing on the phrase “The mission of HPUMC is…” We’ll use this introduction to explain the notion of “reimagining church,” since unity around and commitment to the church’s central purpose will serve as the necessary foundation for newness, creativity, and change.

Image |  Josep Castells on Unsplash