The Future Church Symposium was an idea I had to bring key thinkers to my region to talk about the way culture is changing and what churches needed to do to move into the future. In truth, it was also a way to get my own teacher/professor, Dr. Leonard Sweet, into my church and with my people. Dr. Sweet spoke at the first Symposium in 2019. Thanks to the support of my church, Northminster Presbyterian Church of New Castle, PA and a grant from the Synod of the Trinity, the Future Church Symposium was born.
The 2020 Symposium was all set to welcome Dr. Reggie McNeal from GoodCities to New Castle, PA. Of course, 2020 also welcomed the coronavirus and we all became familiar with words like pandemic, social distancing, travel restrictions and quarantine. We punted the event to summer, then fall, then it became clear that an in-person event was not feasible.
Yet, with all of the changes the pandemic brought, the material Dr. McNeal had prepared seemed even more relevant and important. We decided, instead, to film the event as a series of conversations. Life situations, technological obstacles and the ongoing demands of leading in a pandemic have pushed back the delivery of this material, so we are presenting it as the 2021 Future Church Symposium. Our hope is, that in this new format, this material can help a lot more people than the in-person event could handle.
These sessions are made to be short enough so that they could be used at the start of a meeting. And, they also build on one another so they would make an excellent leadership retreat for a church board or staff. Of course, you could also work through them on your own. Included are some thought and discussion questions to go with each session.
The initial material is Dr. McNeal giving core content. As the videos progress, they become more conversational. The most enjoyable part of this experience was having a couple days to hang with Dr. McNeal. He is a fun guy with so much wisdom. Read his books. Go to him for coaching. You won’t be disappointed.
I don’t know what the Future Church Symposium will look like going forward. I don’t really know what next week looks like. But, I do know this is some great material that should be encouraging as well as challenging. My prayer is that God would speak to you through it. If you find it helpful, share it with others.
With a clean heart and sanitized hands,
Pastor Jordan Rimmer
The Future Church Symposium is brought to you by a generous innovation grant from the Synod of the Trinity and the ministry and leadership of Northminster Presbyterian Church of New Castle, PA
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