Before starting a progressive/ emerging group of people…or dare I say a church.


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msfits

photo(3)Several things to think about before starting a progressive/emerging church or spiritual community. OR THINGS BEC LEARNED AS SHE NAVIGATED HER WAY INTO CHURCH PLANTING.
1) Believe that God loves all people. (Don’t put that on your sign and then when people come tell them they must repent for some purity code violation from Levitical Law) really.
2) Pray alot, (and yes, I realize some people don’t pray- but attempt to discern, meditate, and focus on what your intentions are before forming a community)
3) Approach a progressive or liberal denomination for support. (If your denomination shuns education, hates women in ministry, tells you to listen to fox news or basically says backwoods stuff about Genesis or Revelation they are most likely NOT PROGRESSIVE or [you can wait 40 years until the boomers in control retire and then hope your denomination might progress.]) Support doesn’t mean finances usually when you start a progressive church. What it does mean, is that a few people will help you through your discernment process and make sure you don’t declare yourself a prophet of God and start passing around cyanide pills. Many progressive churches like UCC and DOC aren’t as creedal as others, so questioning scripture and theology won’t ruffle any feathers. These denominations actually want you to think for yourself, and study the Bible instead of parrot what you’ve been told. Check the denomination’s policies about Communion or Eucharist- some won’t let just anyone serve the juice or wine. Check on and find a group that you can get along with- and see if it will be an open place for others to explore. If you’re burnt out from denominationalism or authority in general, its still a good idea to have a board of advisers.
4) How will your body, group, hangout view offerings and handle money? Do you want to bring it up? Would you like to use those funds for the poor or a local ministry?
5) Actually love people. You don’t need gimmicks. Hang out. Do life together. Go to a photography club, or visit a brewery. Serve together at the mission, or put together school supplies for underprivileged youth.
6) SMALL IS GOOD. Don’t try to start a mega church. Never underestimate a small group of people who are committed to loving each other and changing the world. Advertise in a local paper or on facebook and other social media sites that you are thinking about starting a church. Find diverse but unified leaders. Share your vision with others.
USE SOCIAL MEDIA!!!!
7) Don’t worry about filing all the necessary paperwork with the government right away. Let your denomination help you with that later.
8) Do interview people who have done it and are doing it.
9) Forget a building. Find a cause. What unifies you all? Can you meet weekly in a different location? Is there a park? What about a barn? Will the Presbyterians or Episcopalians let you use their building?
10) Safe space. Think about being a safe space for people who are intrigued with faith or who have been hurt by churches and religion.
There’s a lot more things to think about. But if you are itching to do it, then get to it. I spent 2 years crafting a plan, attending workshops, praying, and even going to a boot camp before starting a church. Its still messy. and No we don’t have a building. but we do have community. What do you think?

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