Center for Church Development rechristens itself

Owen Ross and wife on an outreach tour.Ross says the new title better reflects his center’s purpose — and doesn’t take all day to say

When Rev. Owen Ross officially became director of the Center for New Church Development and Congregational Transformation last summer, he knew one of his initial tasks would be to go out on a meet-and-greet tour across the North Texas Conference.

“But once I got through putting the [center’s] name on my business card, there was no room for my name,” Ross said.

All kidding aside, Ross discovered early on in his tenure that people struggled to remember the name of his center. He hopes renaming it will solve that problem.

What emerged was the Center for Church Development, a concise name that captures the true work of creating a culture of “churches planting churches” as the North Texas Conference forms new communities of faith and facilitates congregational transformation in existing churches.

“In today’s world, the Church desperately needs to redefine church planting back to its origins,” Ross said. “As a child I was taught, ‘The Church is not a building. The Church is not a steeple. … The Church is the people.’

“Church development is about developing gatherings of persons for Christian discipleship. This happens in new churches as well as in existing congregations.”

Ross’ vision for 2018 is to launch a diversity of church plantings across the conference. That includes developing churches in growing areas such as Uptown Dallas and the 380 Corridor, outreach to nontraditional populations and those who don’t speak English at home, and devising planting strategies for rural areas.

“Planting means creating a space, on or off the campus of a church, that reaches people that do not currently congregate in existing church spaces or activities,” he said. “Our center helps churches do this.”

Published: Tuesday, February 20, 2018