Pastor's Notebook: Resilient Church Project

Dear church,

We have exciting news to share and celebrate! In November, Community UMC submitted an application to the Resilient Church Project at Whitworth University, a program that gathers churches together to explore what it means to be resilient in the midst of our changing culture...and we have been accepted!

This is tremendous news for our church. Here's why: The religious landscape in our country is rapidly changing. While recent research shows that Americans remain spiritually open and curious, regular church attendance has been declining for decades. This is true across all generations, but especially among our Millennial (born between 1981 and 1996) and Gen Z (1997-2013) neighbors. CUMC remains a healthy congregation, but we are also an aging congregation, which leaves us curious about God's future plans for our ministry. What will that future look like? Who are our neighbors and what are they seeking? And how can we build stronger skills in engaging our community?

The Resilient Church Project exists to help churches like ours engage these questions, cultivate the traits of resiliency, and begin planning for our future ministry. For the next two years, CUMC will be part of a small, diverse cohort of churches working through a three-phase process. We will benefit from the expertise and resources of the Whitworth Office of Church Engagement in the areas of church history, church vitality, city planning, and entrepreneurship. The first phase of the program starts this June. As part of that phase, we are blessed to host a Whitworth student ministry fellow this summer! This student will intern at the church and also conduct research alongside a Whitworth professor assigned to our congregation.

The future of our church will not look like the past. That can feel sad and scary. But God has given us a spirit of hope, not fear! We give God thanks for this opportunity to grow as disciples and ministers of the Gospel as we discern God's dreams for our church. Please hold our Resilient Church Team in prayer (Pastor Amanda, Carol Noy, and Fred Asher) as well as our entire Coeur Team as we embark on this process. And stay tuned for more updates!

Grace and peace,

Pastor Amanda

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