Being the church downtown

Rob Rynders has written about ministry in downtown Phoenix and the meaning of the phrase “spiritual but not religious.”

The post wrestles with some important and interesting questions. I am going to post some questions to Rob on his blog, but I thought the subject matter was important enough to share with you.


3 thoughts on “Being the church downtown

  1. I find it sad that Rynders finds it necessary to be independent of any denomination, and re-invent the administrative wheel while he ministers to the people. He and his co-workers may be successful, but they are mortal. Will the work disappear as their energy wanes? Why cannot denominations be as successful in ministry without the need to create whole new churches?

    1. Lee, I’m sorry that you find my work sad, but let me assure you that I’m starting a United Methodist Church. What we are trying to do, however, is be relevant to our context. We’re creating a church that doesn’t exist in a building in and for ourselves, but a church that is present where the people are present. Our discipleship groups meet in downtown condos, coffee shops and bars. Our outreach projects serve those in our context, we have theology pubs, concerts, and conduct rituals (inviting folks to light candles in an art gallery on All Saints) and acts of worship in public spaces (Advent service in the park). We spend our days meeting folks in the city asking them what they see God at work and share with them our mission and vision. I don’t see how we could do it any other way. I think cookie-cuter churches can absolutely still be successful, in highly churched parts of the country and in the suburbs. They might work in urban areas, but I think they face an uphill battle. I hope that maybe you will take some time to get to know me and my ministry so that you can indeed see neither me or the ministry God has called me to is sad.

  2. Robert Frost said that writing poetry without rhyming is like playing tennis without a net. Spirituality without religion is playing tennis without a net (or boundary lines).

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