renewing the church united methodist church

Opportunity to Partner with Resurrection

I am on a strategic project team at Resurrection that is looking for three small churches, currently led by lay speakers, local pastors, or student local pastors, who would be interested in testing a new model for ministry – these churches would, for one year, become a part of a multi-point circuit with Resurrection. The aim is to see what we might do together to strengthen small churches. Resurrection would provide 36 weeks of sermons via video, coaching, and other resources.

I am excited to see what fruit may be born with this model of ministry. What would you see as some of the greatest benefits and biggest challenges to exploring ministry in this way?

By Andrew Conard

Christian, husband, son, brother, homeowner

3 replies on “Opportunity to Partner with Resurrection”

I like the idea that is presented here; it is a variant on something I posted on my own blog a while back (it is a variant of an idea I posted a few years ago –

But some questions arise. Will these churches be in your own district and/or conference? What would you do if a church from another district or conference wanted to participate?

From a technological standpoint, what capabilities must these churches have. Many of the small churches where I provide pulpit suppy don’t have three-prong outlets. If you don’t have an adapter for many of the devices used in “modern” churches today, you are out of luck.

Just some quick thoughts.

Deep breath.

Firstly, I’m personally opposed to franchising a particular church and for local churches to cede their message to people outside their community. I will watch with interest the ways how your partner churches reflect on this experience.

Secondly, with franchised churches (at least the half-dozen case studies I’ve seen) the predominant number of people you get are not converts but disenfranchised Christians from other churches. So I wonder what your goal is in offering a franchise to a local church?

Finally, I’m particularly shocked at your outright desire to “take over” the message of student, local, and lay pastors…the ones most likely to need coaching, yes, but also the most vulnerable to the temptation to cede the message.

These sound antagonistic but you asked and I’m honestly concerned at why you are targeting not troubled churches but vulnerable pastors?

Thoughts? Documents of intent?

This is a model I’ve been wondering about for the last few years. It’s something with which I’ve struggled and I wonder how well it would work. For example, what happens when an event hits the local community such as a natural disaster or sudden rampant unemployment? How would the local pastor address it? How would they minister to the needs of the community?

For these small churches that are most often in semi-rural settings, where would be the personal touch in worship? One of the problems that I’ve seen in the itinerant system in the UMC is the inability to get to know a congregation because of their belief that the pastor will not be there very long. Since regular worship is where the majority of the congregatio has contact with the pastor, would this not help exacerbate the disconnect often felt between the two?

As for using this resource for churches with student pastors, how does this help the student pastor with learning the discipline of preparing their own sermons on a regular basis? How will they learn to speak to the unique spiritual needs of that particular community?

Last, but not least, I wonder if such messages would be too generic so as to reach a larger audience. While this type of message can be helpful at times, I do not see a steady diet of it being healthy.

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