A NEW START AT A CHURCH NAMED FOR BEGINNINGS
It was not an easy 2013, but it was really good for us as a congregation…
We undertook a 10 month long process called New Beginnings that had us asking really difficult questions about our ministry, neighborhood, and future.
It began with a process called Appreciative Inquiry and an external reviews of all things Genesis; from signage and parking to worship, budget, attitudes and attendance. It continued in the summer and fall through a series of small group Dialogues making sense of an in depth analysis of our history, ministry setting, and congregational make-up. A significant number of our membership took part in these frank discussions that looked at years of stagnation and decline, the struggles of churches today, and assessment of the surrounding community economically,politically, socially, educationally…
We recognized that something more direct and intentional, and possibly more creative and even risky, would be required of us if we were to re-energize Genesis church. The time came when we realized half-measures would no longer do.
Re-development is what we soberly agreed we needed!
Key to this re-commitment was a renewed sense of local mission and hands-on work in our community. Our New Mexico mission continues to be a vibrant part of our identity but we are also looking at new projects here in Littleton to help train us away from concern about ourselves. We are moving away from a consumer mentality into a more lively discipleship one. Genesis is a church about serving others.
In addition we had many conversations about what makes us unique? and what ministry needs around us are we especially suited to? We found some compelling answers. They are our new gyroscope, core values, ministry flavors that we realize we want to let everyone know about. And they fall into these categories:
* Activist– our worship experience is especially shared and interactive. From Sunday leadership to sermons to prayers to “offerings” we think sharing the conversation works well. Visitors might be shocked at first, but then, we think, delighted.
* Women Focused – we just can’t imagine not sharing every level of participation and leadership with this 55% of the community. Genesis owes a great deal to the women who help lead us and we want the neighbors to know: “In Christ there is no male or female” the apostle Paul tells us. Yup.
* Science & Scripture – “All truth comes from God” is what our grampa Jean Calvin says. Far from “checking your brain at the door” we love the stimulating challenge of teaching and preaching that leads us deeper into everything that is: around us and within. A billion years ago and next week too.
* Open & Affirming – God is obviously at work calling many who are gay or lesbian into the ordained ministry. We want to call them for our next potluck, mission trip, and book group. The PCUSA recognizes the ordination of gays and lesbians and we too rejoice in the diversity of God’s children. Everyone is welcome at Genesis.
* God Elsewhere Too – Hard to say how God is One, but it’s true. It is also true that God is doing His/Her saving thing through numerous Other Traditions. If you have an inkling that Buddhism, Judaism, Islam, Mormonism, Hinduism etc just can’t be all missing the boat – you should come sail with us for a while.