Amid recommendations that the 221st General Assembly (2014) encourage and challenge mid-councils and congregations to get involved in the 1001 movement, Presbyterian Mission Agency Board members received good news about the number of new worshiping communities that have started.
“Right now at nearly 200, we are ahead of the curve, ” said Philip Lotspeich of the mission agency’s Evangelism and Church Growth Office. “It is going to accelerate very quickly, as we have 198 new worshiping communities in 95 (out of 175) presbyteries.”
The initiative to ignite a church-wide movement resulting in 1001 new worshiping communities in 10 years was approved at 220th General Assembly (2012).
“As we assess and learn from what is happening roughly a year and half in, we increasingly know we aren’t the ones starting them,” Lotspeich said. “So we made four recommendations to grow the number of mid-councils, presbyteries and churches involved in this movement.”
They are to encourage and challenge:
- Each mid-council to sponsor a training or awareness event on 1001 New Worshiping Communities in cooperation with the Evangelism and Church Growth office.
- Each church session to pray for the fulfillment of the 1001 movement by daily praying the scripture passage at 10:02 a.m. from Luke 10:2 that asks God to send more workers into the harvest field.
- Each presbytery view a new 1001 video at meetings and discuss, “How can we engage in ministry outside the walls of church in our own context?”
- Each presbytery to start at least one new worshiping community within the next two years.
Lotspeich said the recommendations approved by the mission agency board—to challenge and encourage the entire church to get involved in the 1001 movement—come out of seeing God’s Spirit give life to these new worshiping communities.
“In our visits to more than 50 presbyteries in the past year we increasingly realize our role is to encourage and support what is already happening on the ground, rather than control and regulate,” he said. “This means some of these new worshiping communities may push us out of our comfort zone, but that’s where real growth begins—where God does something truly miraculous.”