Growing New Faith Communities: Tour de TAC
Tour de TAC is coming to the Texas Annual Conference. Rev. Morris Matthis, Director of New Faith Communities, discusses why new faith communities are vital to the future of the Conference.
Q: In Tour de TAC, the Conference will hear how we can grow through new faith communities. Most of us understand the concept of church planting but we might be less familiar with the idea of alternative new faith communities. What are alternative faith communities and why do they matter?
A: The idea here is that we are living in a time when people are less inclined to come to church. Our communities are now a bona fide mission field. If we are going to connect with them, we have to go to them.
An alternative faith community is what happens when people in a local church come up with ways to reach people with the gospel who might never come in the doors of the church. Churches can reach their communities in this way without relocating or spending a lot of money. It is a new way to approach evangelism.
Through Tour de TAC, I hope to encourage a Conference-wide culture of church planting. I would love for churches to catch the vision that church planting is something we do, that we are all part of it.
Q: What do attendees have to look forward to during the Tour de TAC conversations?
A: First, we will dramatize the significant impact church planting has had on our Conference of over the last 40 years. Next, we will talk about all the strategies involved with planting and how every one of our churches can play a part in supporting the planting of churches. Additionally, we will explore strategies churches can employ to create new faith communities in order to connect with the unreached people in their mission field. We also want churches to know the many ways our office is available to support them in these efforts.
Q: For some churches this will necessitate a shift from an “inward focus” to more of an “outward focus.” Is it difficult to make this fundamental change in ministry philosophy?
A: Yes, and I believe it is part of the reason our churches are struggling today. Part of what is killing us is our institutional mindset. We have to move beyond our institutional mindset to ask how can we be more effective in reaching people for the kingdom.
Q: What would you say to people who are resistant to these changes?
A: I think the answer is as individual as each church, but we have to help them work their way through that. I am available to come out and do workshops to help educate churches and give them solid strategies. I would encourage everyone to at least try it, to see what types of successes they are able to have. Nothing breeds success like success.
However, it does take courage to make these types of changes. I am eager to do all I can to give pastors the courage to say, "You know what, the gospel is too important for me to not do this.”