AIM’s work remains vital through the voices of and collaboration with the broader ecosystem of creative faith leaders. This little neighborhood of church is where we feel most at home, so we are often hearing new ideas, writing in response to problems and innovations, and learning new ways to be faithful ourselves. The resources below include various reflections from that work as well as programs in response to needs that keep coming up, and as always, we would love to talk with you more about what you read here.
It isn’t because we don’t have enough church buildings. And it isn’t because we want to (or ought to) relive the days when the world around us listened more closely when we told them what to do in the name of the God we serve. No, the call to plant churches is a call to be and build churches that are not just for ourselves. There is so much overflowing abundance in the story of the gospel and it is easy for it to get caught up in the closed container of what we see as the right way to do church and faith and community. Gathering churches is about searching out where that great gospel love and work is already flowing—where the Holy Spirit is springing up already, and finding ways to flow in and with the Spirit amidst communities who ache to feel the embrace of a God who cares for them. Gathering churches is about practicing the community life of the Church among others God is drawing to God's self. As our stories and experiences of faith are grafted together, both we and those we gather alongside will be changed, and we believe that the Church will be richer for it.
The AIM team has landed here because we have believed and longed to believe in the call of the Church despite herself. We are here not because we seek to create an anti-institutional movement within the Church but because we believe that this ancient institution still has a story of belovedness to tell, not just to the insiders but to all the people who have, over time, found themselves outside the Church’s walls. In many ways, the work of church gathering is for the outsiders—the ones who have found their life in the story of Jesus Christ but don’t yet know how to fit into the Church as it exists.
For us, church gathering is a call to build out the welcome that the church has received, where it does not yet exist—for the frightened and embarrassed, for the poor and the generous, the uneducated and the wise, for the incarcerated and the addicted, for the hat-wearing and the tattoo having, for the sensory-sensitive and the differently abled, for the perceptive and the skeptical, for the difficult and the lonely, for the impolitic and the disruptive, for the very young and the very old. The call is to give this welcome form in local places and to practice it together so that the Christian faith might be lived and fed and shared in every community and neighborhood to the glory of God.
Could this work be for you? We’d love to talk with you about it.
Have you, in the midst of exploring a new idea, uttered the phrase, “I didn’t learn how to do that in seminary!” Have you wondered “What does it even mean to draft practices for financial management oversight in a way that is faithful and theologically sound?”
We have been listening to creative colleagues and graduates and thinking hard about how the skills of nonprofit management are needed in the church, but also in need of adaptation for faithful use in the church context rather than the marketplace. So, we are gathering nine leaders to lead a virtual three-part Faith-based Nonprofit Workshop Series for creative leaders via Zoom.
Covering topics like human resources for staff and volunteers, theologically-grounded funds development, and responsible community engagement, we are hoping to get at the day-to-day skills that are informed by but not necessarily covered in theology courses, and are perhaps best learned alongside practice once you are in the midst of the work. Participants will receive a survey prior to the training so that their particular questions and contexts can be addressed, and the learning will be collaborative rather than in webinar format.
Our next workshop series will be offered by the Seminary's Center for Adaptive and Innovative Ministry in spring 2023. Check back for registration information in January 2023!
Questions? Contact Karen Rohrer, director of the Center for Adaptive and Innovative Ministry, at 412-924-1412 or .