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Granger Community Church

On both Monday and Tuesday we experienced great hospitality from both Willow Creek and Granger Community Church. It has really been a great trip. We are headed back to Kansas City this morning – some more debriefing, brainstorming and networking on the bus is coming up.

Our bus pulled up to Granger yesterday morning after a bit of a crawl through early morning Chicago traffic. I really did not know what to expect from Granger. What I did know came mostly as a subscriber to LeadingSmart by Tim Stevens and Kem Meyer on Less Clutter & Noise. We arrived in time for lunch and we had lunch conversations with staff members at GCC that were active in a similar ministry area. Kathy Guy was at the table at which I had lunch. I was particularly appreciative of their Turning Point ministry which is based on a curriculum of the book Boundaries and play a similar role to all of the support groups that happen at Resurrection – it focuses on taking the next healthy step in life no matter what the situation. Good stuff.

After lunch, we took a building tour and they have a great facility. The children’s area is top notch in decor and environment. At certain grade levels the kids check in upstairs and then go down a slide to enter the classroom. I am not kidding. I took a ride on one of them and it was pretty fun! The worship space was a very basic space, but outfitted with huge video screens and a great lighting system. We watched a video of a baptism service in the summer and of a recent sermon series. The team at GCC also sent each of us on our way with what I expect to be some great resources – First Impressions, Simply Strategic Stuff, Simply Strategic Growth, and Simply Strategic Volunteers. Thanks!

We had time as a team to process some of what we had heard, seen and experienced at Willow and Granger in the afternoon. From Willow, one of the major topics of conversation was the implications of the Reveal study. We read the book as a team and I think that there are a lot of implications for Resurrection there as well as for many other congregations. From Granger, one of the major topics of conversation was around innovation. I think that at Resurrection we do excellence very well and that innovation is a growing edge for us. There are a lot of other questions in this area.

  • What does it mean to be innovative?
  • Is Granger innovative?
  • Is Resurrection innovative?
  • What type of interaction is there between innovation and excellence?

What do you think?

By Andrew Conard

Christian, husband, son, brother, homeowner

13 replies on “Granger Community Church”

These sound like pretty exciting visits! I’m trying to decide if the road trips or the destinations sound more fun.

What specifically is your team looking for as you scout out these other large membership churches? What kinds of things do you like to see and what don’t you like to see?

I just heard a piece on NPR about an exhibit at the Tate in London that includes multiple slides. Obvioulsy fun, their question, is it art?

Neat slide at Granger, my question to you…is it discipling?

Thanks for sharing your reflections of Granger. Was there any conversation about claiming denominational ties? In my opinion COR does it unabashedly and well, Granger doesn’t do it at all. I struggle with this as a fellow United Methodist in North Indiana, especially to the extent that Granger doesn’t support connectional ministries through the payment of apportionments.

jimmorrow – I think that there was good stuff that happened both in the destinations and in the road trip. There was a great deal of bonding that took place on the bus and at the hotel. But also, it was great to see other churches and hear about the way that they are active in the kingdom of God. Look for a deeper response to your last two questions in an upcoming post.

Amy – Great question. I think that the multiple screens could create more of an immersive experience during the worship service. I think that the use of the screens during worship and other gatherings of the people would I think that the technology in itself is neutral, but how it is utilized would determine the value in making disciples.

Jeff – There was not any conversation about claiming denominational ties. There is nothing from the building or website at Granger that I could find that would link it to the United Methodist Church. In our time together, Mark Beeson, senior pastor, mentioned a Wesleyan understanding of faith and quoted John Wesley. Given the lack of public connection from Granger to the UMC, I found these mentions to be more than I was expecting.

As a Northern Indiana United Methodist, I have no problem with Granger not proclaiming their tie to the denomination. I live too far away to attend regularly, but have visited twice (the most recent time was last night for a Saturday evening church). It’s a great church with amazing messages for christians of all ages at all stages in life. It’s a great discipling church.

Granger Community Church does not fly the UMC Sign? I am a sixth generation UMC and serving a thriving church with eight weekend services at three campuses. While John Wesley died an Anglican Priest–he was still called an “Enthusiast” by his Anglican peers. After preaching a powerful sermon to academia in 1746 at St. Mary’s at Oxford, he was never invited back again to preach at Oxford. He had to preach on his father’s tombstone after he was shut out of his Angilcan parrish. Bishop Joseph Butler told him to move on and not preach in his parrish, to which Wesley replied, “The World Is My Parrish”. When sending newly ordained general superintenants (bishops) to the America J. Wesley shared these words, “Offer Them Christ”. And, some are wondering about Granger not having a sign that says, “United Methodist”? See John Wesley’s work on “The Character of a Methodist” and you will find he first wanted it published as, “The Character of a Christian”. Let us remember Wesley’s own response to the question, “Will there be any Methodist in heaven?” “No”, he replied, “Nor will there be any Presbyterian, Anglican, …only Christians.” Let us who are United Methodist share in Word and Deed the Wesleyan Evangelical Faith with our unchurched neighbors. For those who do not gladly waive the Cross and Flame symbol–let us be slow to judge–after all–they may be in better company with John Wesley then those who do fly the Sign!
Charles Kyker
http://www.christnc.com

Charles,

Thank you so much for your description of Wesley’s answer to the label of Methodist. I responded last week to another blog about where the UMC is headed in the next 25 years. My point was that there is more concern about being a “Methodist” than a Christian. My local Methodist church has imploded and I left because, after 22 years of very active participation, a new minister found me unworthy because I had never “officially” joined the church. He was supported by the district superintendent and other church hierarchy. I was amazed and very hurt, especially when my church family acted so surprised that I wasn’t a member when I had taken such a role of leadership. So my husband and I left. Why is this an issue? The UMC professes that they have an open minds, hearts, and doors. Former ministers of this same church served an open communion and welcomed non-Methodists. Why the change in attitude of the clergy of the UMC? I admit that I am a free-thinker, a former military dependent who was happy finding the areas in each new post chaplain or local church in which the doctrinal part of my faith agreed. And then also adjusting to those parts which did not fit. But always being in the compnay of other Christians—through Disciples of Christ Christian, Cumberland Presbyterian, Methodist, Church of Christ, and independent Christian chaplains. Why the support in the UMC now for ministers who want to omit Christians who don’t sign up? If it happens at the local level, then it will continue on through each layer until the UMC reflects this practice. I personally think that if the Granger church does not “post” its Methodism, then that is great. As far as the comment about their non-payment of apportionments (I dislike that term), then let me just say that in all the discussion of conflict in our small Kansas West church, the only area of concern really discussed by the district superintendent was that we were known as a strong church and he didn’t want that damaged (interpreted by me as limiting our contributions—which it definitely has). Sad. Maybe the local ministry of the Granger church well over-pays in service to others what the UMC would assess them in dollars. Why can’t we see the good in things instead of worrying about whether everything fits into a mold. Isn’t that why the UMC has districts, etc. and no real central head—i.e. a cardinal or bishop over all of the USA—in order to allow some flexibility? Let’s remember what God planned for our salvation, and what Jesus paid through his death, burial, and resurrection. Bravo to any church that professes that message wholeheartedly, and with truth.

Charles – Thanks for your comment. I agree that it is less important whether or not a local congregation claims to be United Methodist than it is to be a community where people are living as disciples of Jesus Christ and sharing the good news with others.

Christian Only – I am sorry that you have had a bad experience at your local United Methodist Church. I think that it is an overgeneralization to think that UM clergy at large are more concerned about someone being a Methodist than they are with that person following Christ. I do think that you are right – the practices that happen in a local congregation are those practices that may spread to other congregations and begin to affect the character of the conference and the denomination. My hope is that changes that spread from one congregation to another will lead to lives committed to Jesus and renewal within the church and not in the opposite direction.

I think that the topic of denominational claims, loyalty is a good one – look for a post in the next week or so to explore this more in depth.

Thank you for your replies. I know that I am speaking out of hurt, but I also do think there in a concern. Life is interesting and sometimes God just has to shake things up a bit. I think He had a new direction for me outside my former Methodist church family. I certainly hope that this minister does not reflect the Methodist way of doing things. I have been with four other Methodist ministers and have never experienced anything remotely like this.

I am posting now as “Mare”. I did have a comment about concealed carry in another dialogue. Thanks.

Christian Only—Mare – I appreciate your concern for the people and leadership of the United Methodist Church. No matter where you are worshiping I hope that you are able to live out your faith in a way that brings life and wholeness. Thanks for your openness.

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