Monday, January 17, 2011

Transformation Church

This weekend I was in Charlotte visiting Liam, Marcie, and the kids. On Sunday we went to church at Transformation Church. When Marilyn and I were down last April, we went there as well. I was impressed then and still am. It has long been known that you plant a new church by focusing on three aspects: music, preaching, and hospitality. Transformation certainly does all three of these very well. Go here to see Transformation Church website.

Transformation Church Overflow Room
What impressed me, however, was the way in which the pastor, Derwen Gray, has articulated the mission of the church as UPWARD, INWARD, and OUTWARD. The UPWARD dimension speaks to our relationship to God who loves us and reaches toward us to change us in fundamental ways. The INWARD dimension speaks to the way in which we make our response to God's offer of love. It focuses on a healthy regard for our true self as loved by God. The OUTWARD dimension extends us out to the world to announce the good news of Jesus Christ and to work with Jesus in the salvation of the world. Theologians could, and do, come up with sophisticated language and structures to say the same thing without adding anything meaningful for the vast majority of us. You won't find those words in scripture but they capture the essence of the message.

While I have had some familiarity with some congregations that focus on music, preaching and hospitality, I was impressed with Transformation's emphasis on the outward dimension, discipleship to the world. Too often this music, preaching, hospitality results in a comfortable Christianity without the cross. Transformation's approach does not make this mistake. I also noted that they have what they call transformation groups, small groups, that meet in people's homes and are led by trained facilitators. These serve to educate and to deepen commitment.

All in all this is an impressive church from which Catholic parishes could learn much.

No comments: