“…here and there in the world and now and then in ourselves is a New Creation, usually hidden, but sometimes manifest, and certainly manifest in Jesus who is called the Christ.” – Paul Tillich
Paradigm: a typical example of something or model
About a year and half ago, FaithX made this invitation to our blog readers:
“FaithX is forming a working group called New Paradigms. We envision it to be a multi-denominational group of people who are interested in exploring, naming, and experimenting into some new paradigms for living as Christians in the world today, for what the Church can become. We will gather online on a regular basis, publish articles and blogs, offer webinars, and perhaps, eventually, an online conference. If you are interested in joining us, please email us email@example.com.”
It took a few months to get off the ground but in July 2020 we had our first New Paradigms Working Group meeting. Our group was represented by multiple denominations, genders, and races. We fell into a routine of monthly zoom meetings that start with a personal check-in followed by a devotion shared by one of the group members. Then, someone else takes the virtual floor to share an idea or project. This could be something they are considering trying or something they are currently working on. Either way, after the presentation there is time for questions, comments, feedback, and more all with the intent of helping to make their great idea even better. I have to admit that it’s one of my favorite meetings each month.
Over the last year we have talked about house or backyard churches, cooperative ministries, congregational vitality projects, church as community hub, creating an online campus, the role of the church in community vitality, creating area strategies for rural congregations, shared thoughts about the church from futurists, and talked about creating teams to surround clergy with what they need.
Two ideas in particular have gained traction. The concept of a church as community hub is gaining traction in multiple places around the country. This means that congregations are inviting organizations that serve the community into their buildings so that they can become a one stop shop for supporting the needs of a community.
The other idea growing toward fruition is the close connection between community vitality and congregational vitality. Even the most vital of congregations will only remain that way for so long if the community around them is struggling. So, what if congregations invested in revitalizing the community where they serve? It’s an intriguing and much needed concept. Watch for more to come about both of these ideas.Where are you stretching into new ideas? Are there new paradigms calling to your congregation? How are you learning to become new wineskins? As always, we love to hear your stories, just email us at firstname.lastname@example.org