Churches on the Move

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Downtown Disciples man at keyboard in classroom            What a gift it is to meet and share with colleagues across the U.S. and Canada through the “Stewardship and Culture” online course! One of the topics in our most recent conference call was about churches that are not tied to a specific church building but are literally “on the move” in the community.

One is called The Mobile Church (in Dallas, Texas?). Its members meet for worship in office buildings and unused theaters. One usual spot for midweek gatherings is at a Starbuck’s, where other coffee patrons inevitably are attracted and join in. Another is Downtown Disciples in Des Moines, Iowa. Their weekly “meetups” include live music and worship at a community center; and Wine & Word: A progressive discussion around current events and Scripture, at a winery. Their Meetup Groups frequently get together at Smokey Joe’s Sandwich Shop.

These churches remind me of Old Testament scholar Albrecht Alt, who said that in the entire Ancient Near East, only the God of the Old Testament was “a God Who goes with us.” While other supposed gods were eternally linked to a set territory and shrine, God / the LORD / “I Am Who I Am” could move outside a specific territory, wherever God’s people traveled – even as far as Babylon during the Exodus.

Churches on the move remind us that God is not locked into a specific piece of private property, and we can travel anywhere with God, as well. What would happen if we were bold about using public spaces for ongoing worship as well as witness?

Yours partner in ministry,

Betsy Schwarzentraub

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