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Rethink Church: prepare your congregation

SUMMARY: Now that United Methodists have opened their hearts, minds and doors, they are taking the next important step: Rethinking church.

The single most important way to ready your congregation to embark on the "Rethink Church" journey is to start the conversation. How do we redefine the church experience beyond the church doors and invite people to become engaged in the world?

Invite members to engage in dialogue about what this churchwide effort could mean for your faith life. "Rethink Church" is a call to action for all congregations to embrace the Wesleyan way of making disciples of Jesus Christ.

First, you must build understanding and enthusiasm among people in the pews. Without this, efforts are futile. Begin a purposeful dialogue about the opportunity and challenge "Rethink Church" presents to your congregation. Here is how:

• Review the materials available at

• Seek volunteers to facilitate and participate in roundtable discussions on the launch of "Rethink Church."

• Invite your congregation's young adults to make recommendations about how your church might participate in "Rethink Church." Deputize them to be the "Rethink Church" brains for your congregation, and take their ideas and counsel to heart.

• Use worship to call for an open dialogue around "Rethink Church." Offer specific guidance for how to participate in that conversation (such as hosting a "Rethink Church" discussion group at 7 p.m. Wednesdays).

• Ask unchurched members of your community to participate in a roundtable session or panel discussion. Encourage them to speak candidly to your congregation about their views on the community's most pressing needs and ways members can "Rethink Church" by getting involved.

Enthusiasm for "rethinking church" will result from thoughtfully cultivated conversation about how the effort is relevant to your congregation's spiritual life. When people own an idea, they invest heart and effort in it. Spread ownership of "Rethink Church" across your pews.

Take the principles of "Rethink Church" – creating transformative action in your community – and make them unique and relevant to your congregation and community culture. Empower current and future leaders to adopt "Rethink Church." The congregation will most certainly follow.

Do you want to learn more? Read two related articles "Rethink Church: Why and How to Involve Your Congregation" and "Rethink Church: Get Your Congregation Started." And go to to read the "Rethink Church 101"  article.