On 8 March 2018, more than 250 people from around the West Midlands gathered at the Church at Carrs Lane, Birmingham, for the ReImagine Church Conference, which was co-sponsored by the Birmingham and Wolverhampton & Shewsbury Districts, with support from the Discipleship and Ministries Learning Network.
Participants explored mission, evangelism, and new ways of forming Christian community that will help engage the deep cultural shifts of the 21st Century. The conference brought together cutting-edge practitioners and diverse thinkers from across the theological spectrum for seminars and workshops that challenged and inspired participants to think creatively about what it means to be church – and then to take a concrete next step into action.
Keynote speaker Anji Barker, from Newbigin House in Winson Green, Birmingham, used stories of her experiences around the world to challenge participants to think about how churches are most effective when immersed in a community, not imposing pre-thought conclusions.
Workshops covered a wide range of subjects including storytelling and evangelism, mission action planning, how to engage young people, questions of identity, race and privilege, establishing social enterprises, using art to consider questions of human sexuality, and how a church can reinvent itself by asking questions of a community before taking action.
Trey Hall, Mission Advisor for the Birmingham Methodist District, said:
‘Conference participants really came alive as they grappled with big questions and risked dreaming new ideas. There was a palpable sense of enthusiasm as people worshipped God together and considered faithful approaches that they could try in their individual contexts. The day showed a real confidence in God and a real thirst for new forms and styles of church to emerge.’
At the end of the ReImagine conference, Birmingham District announced a follow-up training course called Pioneering for Ordinary People that will continue to build a missional orientation in our congregations and leaders. Seeking to dispel the myth that pioneering is something that only a tiny fraction of people are called to do, the course will engage lay people, deacons, and presbyters in in-depth learning and practical experimentation in the contexts they live and serve in. The course will launch in September 2018, with five Saturday trainings through the 2018/19 Connexional year.
The next Reimagine Church Conference is scheduled for Saturday 9 March 2019 at the Church at Carrs Lane.
For more information about mission, evangelism, pioneering, and congregational change, contact Trey Hall, Mission Advisor: firstname.lastname@example.org