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Doing Church Differently - Issue #96

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There is excitement in the air on Sunday mornings as people walk toward a middle school in the heart of urban Atlanta, Georgia, where Impact Church meets for worship at 10:00 a.m. and at noon. This United Methodist congregation was founded in 2007 and is living up to its motto of "doing church differently."

As you enter the worship area, you see a large screen with music, church announcements, and Scripture references to help people prepare for the worship experience. Two minutes before the worship hour, a large clock appears on the screen and begins to tick down. When the clock hits the zero mark, the 80-minute worship experience begins. Worship is multisensory, incorporating dance, dramatic expression, contemporary music, spoken prayer, multimedia, and creative preaching.

Impact Church describes its atmosphere as casual, welcoming, and contemporary and says about itself, "we are deeply committed to the Christian faith and our Methodist heritage, but Impact Church may seem different from other Methodist churches. We mix a modern style with some of the traditional practices. We are committed to sharing the love of Christ with the world and reaching all people who want to realize their God-given potential."

Another key part of Impact is its Connection Groups. These small groups meet all over Atlanta, in homes, parks, restaurants, and coffee shops. While a group may focus on a particular topic such as personal goal setting, marriage enrichment, or Bible study, all of the groups are intended to help people share with one another, grow spiritually, and make the community and world a better place.

Some Questions for Discussion

  • If you asked people in your congregation to explain why your worship service is structured in the way it currently is, what would be their response?

  • What three words best describe your worship service?

  • How are you helping people relate to one another, grow spiritually, and make the community and world a better place?

Cheryl L. Walker is the Director of Black Congregational Ministries at the Discipleship Ministries. She may be reached at [email protected]. You may read more about Impact Church at www.impactdoingchurchdifferently.org.

In 2007 church leaders throughout The United Methodist Church in the U.S. were invited to identify churches that demonstrated the vision of discipleship described in the twelfth chapter of Romans. Over 200 churches were surveyed or visited. Issue #96. © 2011 Discipleship Ministries. All rights reserved. Permission is granted to copy this page for use in United Methodist congregations.

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