As the congregations of the North Texas Conference are living into unprecedented times, the Center for Church Development offers practical and timely support for congregations to connect with their communities and congregations while social distancing measures are necessary and as Christian practices are moving into digital spaces. As such, the CCD has shifted its New Spaces budget to better assist congregations offset expenses related to launching and/or enhancing their online spaces. The initial grant available is up to $500. These funds can be used for hardware, software, online giving, web services, advertisements, etc.

These New Online Spaces have the same 4 criteria as other New Spaces.

  1. Gathers new faces: A new space does not merely bring together already “churched” people in a new way. By design, it aims to give unchurched and dechurched people a fresh experience of Christian community. Without new faces, it’s not a new space.
  2. Meets regularly: Regularly could be weekly. It could be monthly. It could be something in between. A new space could “meet” regularly online. A one-time outreach event, however, is not a new space. Without regular meetings, it’s not a new space.
  3. Relates to a UMC entity: Most new spaces will break the mold of typical forms of church. But, a new space is still a part of the Body of Christ. So, every new space will have a supportive connection to a local church, a campus ministry, or some other United Methodist entity. The point of this connection is not to funnel new members to the local church and feed the institution; it’s for the institution to support the new space.
  4. Forms disciples: There are lots of ways to define a disciple. The definition we’re using is a disciple is a person who follows in the Way of Jesus. So, a new space should help people follow in the Way of Jesus. Some new spaces will do that by focusing on Bible study; some won’t. Some will have a strong element of service; some won’t. Still others will utilize music and liturgy; some won’t. The way disciples are formed will vary based on the context. But, without discipleship, it’s not a new space. 

 

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