Plans are also moving forward to keep count of the new worshiping communities, but, he admitted, they are a “little bit messy.” The Office of the General Assembly is helping to create a methodology that will keep count of what may or may not be a church, Dermondy said. “We are trying to create a baseline. We will start an official tally after the General Assembly.
One potentially positive item of business before commissioners at the 220th General Assembly this week will be the approval of an initiative to foster 1001 New Worshiping Communities in the Presbyterian Church (USA).
The PCUSA hopes to create the conditions that will allow existing worshiping communities to flourish, and give birth to over 1,001 more in the next ten years.
Commissioners will vote on the initiative as a part of the General Assembly Mission Council’s mission work plan for 2013-2016. New Worshiping Communities is one of the six strategic directions of the plan.
Presbyterians familiar with new church developments or NCD’s will immediately see the difference between traditional church planting models and New Worshiping Communities, NWCs. Roger Dermody, deputy executive director of the General Assembly Mission Council (GAMC), gave a brief explanation to the GAMC’s executive committee meeting the day before the assembly.
“We think we have come up with something fairly memorable,” said Dermondy, “something that has a lot of texture to it … and is framed around the words ‘new, worshiping, community.'”
Dermondy explained that the new worshiping community would make new disciples; that the Word would be proclaimed and sacraments administered; and that the “worship of God takes place on a vertical level and horizontal level.”
He presented a brief definition and also a longer one that is wrapped in Scripture. It reads:
- “Taking on varied forms of church for our changing culture. Living out the Gospel demands ministry which engages today’s cultures (John 1:14). New ways of joining Christians together for contextual ministry will use current and historic ways of ‘being church’ as springboards for creative innovation (Matt. 9:17).
- “Seeking to make and form new disciples of Jesus Christ. NWCs witness in word and deed (1 John 3:18), continuing Jesus’ own mission of discipling, feeding, teaching, healing, welcoming, crossing boundaries and proclaiming God’s coming realm. Those with new and renewed faith join the Spirit’s transforming work in the world.
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