May 5, 2009

Rethink Church

The United Methodist Church is launching a new marketing campaign entitled "Rethink Church" as of tomorrow, May 6th. The premise behind the change from "Open Hearts. Open Minds. Open Doors." to the new slogan, according to the official United Methodist Communications website, is:

The campaign seeks to offer the church, not as a place to come to and stay within, but as a base of operation for expressing faith by moving out into communities and around the globe to become part of God’s plan for world transformation.

Don't get me wrong, I love this idea as I truly believe this is what the Church was designed to do and be in the first place but I'm confused as to why it has taken this long to figure this out. The other thing I wonder is how long will this transformation take to happen? How far has the UMC drifted from living this out?

This campaign is specifically targeting young adults aged 18-35 by challenging them "to think of church, not as a static institution, but as a movement of people empowered to transform the world" (site link). This is what the Church has been from the very beginning. I think the need to "Rethink Church" must first be for those of us already in the pews by challenging how comfortable we have made the Church for ourselves. We have to stop treating it like some sort of country club and remember we have been commanded to serve, rather than looking to be served.

Personally, I like the new campaign slogan...a lot. I like it much more than the current one and believe it is a solid place to start in order to get a better grasp of what it means to truly be the Body of Christ. I'm anxious to see what this will look like as it plays out.


Joe said...

I love this! This has been a huge struggle for me. Growing up in the Methodist church I don't think I ever really understood the Biblical model of the Church until I went to college and attended other churches. I like your analogy to a "country club." That is what it has felt like.

I have been struggling with this lately as I continue to move closer to being employed in the Methodist church. I want to be at a church that wages war on our culture, that takes the battle to the streets and challenges those in the pews and in their community to follow Christ no matter what uncomfortable and challenging situation that might lead them to. I want to be a part of a ministry where the leaders in that ministry aren't afraid to shake it up and possibly offend some of those in the pews when they see their ministry becoming stagnant or stale.

I worry that the Methodist church is not one of these organizations. Of course I want to get in and do what I can to move the church more towards the Biblical view of what Church is suppose to be, but I often wonder with church politics being what they often are, that I am fighting an uphill battle.

I pray that all Methodists churches take this seriously and reevaluates things.

Sorry about the long post. This has been the battle within me for a while now and it is good to see that leaders within the Methodist church have felt this nudge from Christ as well.

Matt Lipan said...

Joe: thanks for the read and comment.

thanks for being willing to share your thoughts, concerns and desire to help make this a reality for the UMC.

i like what you said about the type of church you want to be a part of. i believe that we will see this happen more and more as emerging generations start to find themselves in positions of leadership within the Church and community. a potentially exciting time to be on staff in the UMC...