A Love Letter to Regenerating Congregations

Dear Regenerating Congregations,

I’m not supposed to have favorites, but you are my favorites.

You understand that just as lost or injured organs can regenerate, human institutions – like the Church – can be regenerate too. And you haven’t just talked about it; you’ve done it.

Thank you Friendship Place in Chicago. Thank you Arlington Presbyterian Church in Northern Virginia. Thank you Caldwell Presbyterian Church in Charlotte (and other partner churches in the Presbyterian, Missionary Baptist, Roman Catholic, AME, and United Methodist traditions.) Thank you St. Gregory of Nyssa in San Francisco for feeding 500 families every week.

Thank you The Grove Church in Charlotte for being willing to lose more than half your membership when you decided to invite your immediate neighborhood into your building, love your Muslim neighbors, and focus on discipleship over churchianity.

[Note: These congregations are not necessarily filled with rich people. They have partnered with like-minded neighbors who understand their regenerative vision.]

Many of our congregations have forgotten that they were established to love God and the world God created, becoming social clubs instead. A few of our congregations protest injustice in all its forms. And a handful of congregations – like yours – are creating something that makes a practical impact in the lives of God’s children. Thank you. I love you.

Eboo Patel writes in his new book We Need to Build: Field Notes for Diverse Democracy that he had a vision for a world that saw its diversity as “a powerful and visible asset.” And then someone pulled him aside and said, “Please build what you see – it would make the world so much better.”

I see a world where everyone has enough food to eat and a safe place to live. I see a world where children have access to excellent health care and schooling. I see a world that addresses what breaks God’s heart in the name of Jesus Christ. Let’s build that together.

Regenerating Congregations: thank you for showing us what could happen when we take our faith and the Holy Spirit seriously.

Gratefully yours, Jan

Image is Friendship Place in Chicago. Source here.

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