This summer, Rachel-Grace Breyer spent 10 weeks in Los Angeles as a 1001 New Worshiping Communities intern discerning God’s next call on her life. She’s now returned to her home in the Phoenix metropolitan area and is taking the first steps in what she hopes will become a new worshiping community.
“I’ve started up a weekly Bible study,” she says. “There are no faith requirements to join, and no expectations of conversion.”
That doesn’t mean Breyer and this group of millennials isn’t taking scripture seriously. For the next nine months they will read scripture passages together and talk about how they believe “these words” shape them.
“We’re trying to figure out what it means to be a Christian,” says Grace Breyer. “Both for, and as a member, of this generation.”
In her own words, Grace-Breyer—who is part of a 1001 NWC cohort group that meets online—describes why she chose to sign up for a 1001 internship, and how excited she is to be starting this new ministry in a familiar context, where she is able to reach out to those with whom she is already connected.
“I am right smack in the middle of the millennial generation, and like many of my friends, I was raised in a quasi-fundamentalist evangelical setting that quickly became irrelevant and arguably even harmful the minute I sat down in a college level philosophy class. In those first four years after high school, I watched as many of my friends bitterly let go of their faith, angry for the ways in which they saw it to be extraneous and rationally weak in their daily lives, but sorrowful for the ways in which they felt they were loosing a piece of themselves.
Although I am currently in seminary and attended a Christian undergraduate university, I too can relate to the angst of watching an institution with nothing but good intentions crumble beneath the ever so unquestioned authority of post modernism. I can recall countless times in theology classes where I knew that if this were the work I was going to build my life around, that it would be hard and often times criticized, but that the Kingdom that is coming demands hope, and so I must do my work well and close to the ground.
I decided to apply for the 1001 NWC internship in March 2015 because I know that doubt is not what my generation is suffering from, but despair. I saw that the Holy Spirit was and had always been at work in the lives of the people around me, and that these people were aware of that but uncomfortable with the language and regulations that they believed were inseparable from their former Christian experiences. I spent 10 weeks in Los Angeles discerning what God’s call on my life, to hope with others who were also interested in starting something new what this might look like. Then I packed my bags and headed to the Phoenix metropolitan area in which I was raised to gather with those who are wandering but crave a community to wander with them.
So far, we have prayed, we have laughed, we have cried and we have shared many meals with one another as we all try to figure out what it means to try to be a Christian in a generation that is so happy being certainly uncertain.
I ask you to pray for us as we learn together and as we ask God to guide us. God has already done so many amazing things in the life of this gathered people, and we are so excited to see what happens next.”
If, like Rachel-Grace Breyer, you are considering starting a new ministry, the 1001 team is accepting inquiries for 2016-2017 intern and cohort spots. You can meet the 2015-2016 interns, residents, and leadership team here.