May 19, 2018
Poet T.S. Eliot once wrote, “The Church must be forever building, and always decaying, and always being restored.” Through these words, our worldview of the church changes. It is an understanding that the church will continue to have life and vitality. From age to age, the church will continue to grow. This contrasts with the natural cycle of all living organisms, a life cycle that involves decay. Since the beginning of “church,” we have seen an endless cycle of decay. Be hopeful, though — the church is always restored! It is restored not through our human hands and effort, but by God.
New worshiping communities are a part of the church that continues to grow, decay and be restored by God. Often I tell the story of a colleague who, along with his church, has been praying for years for the Presbyterian Church to become more diverse. They have believed that change would happen through our existing churches, but God has had a different plan. Instead, we are becoming more diverse through the development of new worshiping communities. Over 53 percent of new worshiping communities are racial/ethnic, and 64 percent of those who make up the communities are under the age of 40. God is doing a new thing, and renewal is happening.
The development of new worshiping communities reinvigorates the whole church. First Presbyterian Church in Hayward, California, has launched four new worshiping communities in the last couple of years. They seek to reach artists, millennials, youth and those seeking social justice. Often the people these new worshiping communities walk alongside would not darken the doors of a traditional church. As First Presbyterian nurtures and supports these new communities, they too live into the calling in which God has led them. The Book of Order says, “The church is to be a community of faith, entrusting itself to God alone, even at the risk of losing its own life” (F-1.0301). How often do we have a such a strong sense of call that we put the church at risk?
To learn more about the new worshiping communities launched by First Presbyterian Church in Hayward: https://vimeo.com/252767348
Rev. Sean Chow, Western Associate for 1001 New Worshiping Communities, Presbyterian Mission Agency
Today’s Focus: 1001 New Worshiping Communities
Let us join in prayer for:
PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff
Let us pray:
Holy one, we entrust our new worshiping communities and our churches to you. We pray for revival in our world. Too often we think we are the source of solutions. Help us to let go and to follow your leading. May our ever-increasing faith in you lead us to places where our churches rely on you solely. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.