I have been deliberating for some time on our best approach to a fall launch for our new satellite community in the downtown and university context. The more I think about it, the more I think we need to take a multi-faceted approach, given how many different demographics are represented.
I hope to design an informational piece for Razorbash this year, and I imagine breaking down our ministry in the downtown context into these groups:
1) Continue the monthly meal gatherings we started last year. Some of our graduate students and staff and other older students at U of A would be a our target group for this event. We have a core team that will probably lead this.
2) Develop a small weekly study group in the dorm context, led by some of our freshman. This would likely meet in Pomfret or one of the dorms, and would be a fellowship and study group aimed at the younger undergraduates.
3) Do a series of curated worship events over the course of the year in the downtown context, perhaps in varying venues. I have a couple of interested worship leaders and artists interested in helping us develop these events (I would love referrals to even more, so contact me or send me contacts if you know folks hoping to plan and participate in truly alternative forms of worship). These events would especially be targeting the downtown artist and intellectual community around the square, Block Street, and so on.
These worship installations/events might have titles like:
Late August-- Title: A/church (Church, except when it isn't)
Mid-fall-- Title: Fall (like, as in, falling, fallen, fallow, foul, etc.)
Advent-- Title: Vent (Because air passes through it)
Lent-- Title: Ents (like the Tolkein creatures similar to trees)
May-- Title: Arrabon (that awesome NT word difficult to translate into English)
I feel fairly confident that we can launch these, because we have members and lay leaders who can take ownership of each of them. I also know that although we are actively in the process of seeking a candidate for our Pastor of New Communities position, it is unlikely we will actually have a Pastor of New Communities on board by the early fall, so this way we are launching significant ministries in the university, downtown context that can be strengthened and guided even more clearly when the Pastor of New Communities comes on board.
Hoping to build these as self-directing groups that are listening for the ways they can multiply and grow.
Just an update on how I'm visioning right now, and would love your responses.