This report documents the process undertaken by an urban church in Hartford, CT to develop a trained, theologically grounded and empowered group of lay leaders to discern possible alternative visions for the future of the congregation. One goal of the project was to develop the leadership skills of the participants in order to participate in the long-term process of leading the congregation from its present building- and clergy-centered, institutional paradigm to a more outward-looking, lay-driven and mission-centered church grounded in the principles of our baptismal covenant. The operating belief was that to be sustainable in the 21st century, the church must rely less on professional and salaried staff and more on committed, well-trained and non-stipended lay missioners. From a theological perspective, it is the belief of the author that such a future direction encourages the church to follow Jesus' call for all of the baptized to move from discipleship to apostleship in living the Good News.
A significant element of this project was the intentional acknowledgement of the role that diversity – racial, ethnic, socio-economic, educational level, gender identity, age, etc. – traditionally has played in the identity of the congregation and the pivotal role it might play as the congregations envisions its future. Taking the image of "The Body of Christ" from 1 Corinthians 12, the operative belief is that "The Gospel" is understood and lived out depending upon one's personal experience of the Gospel. By facilitating opportunities for members of the congregation to share and appreciate each member's lived experience of the Gospel, it was anticipated that members would experience the richness of the Gospel as Jesus implies in The Great Commission of Matthew 28:19.
|School Location:||United States -- Connecticut|
|Source:||DAI-A 79/01(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Keywords:||Congregational Renwal, Cultural Diversity, Lesslie Newbigin, Missolgy, Mutual Ministry, Urban Ministry|
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