SEATTLE — How can congregations be bearers of good news to their neighborhoods? Co-moderator of the 223rd General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Cindy Kohlmann led a workshop at the Next Church national gathering called “The gospel mandate: Beloved communities and neighborhood churches” highlighting the one church, one book chosen by Kohlmann and co-moderator Vilmarie Cintrón-Olivieri.
Kohlmann and Cintrón-Olivieri have asked Presbyterians to read “Neighborhood Church: Transforming Your Church into a Powerhouse for Mission” by Krin Tatenhove and Rob Mueller as a means of prompting discussion and sparking ministry in their contexts.
Kohlmann invited participants to consider how congregations – as disciples of Jesus Christ – can be incarnational bearers of good news, outlining the cornerstones of beloved communities:
- Incarnation (Matthew 22:37-38);
- Compassion in word and deed (1 John 3:18);
- Partnership within and without the walls of the church (Galatians 3:28);
- Seeking after justice (Matthew 25:40).
She detailed five movements from “Neighborhood Church,” which include moving from a theology of scarcity to one of abundance; listening in congregations and communities; transforming partnership through relationship and collaboration; integrating space with a sense of stewardship; and sustaining vision through Spirit-filled worship and mentoring new leaders.
Kohlmann invited those gathered to pick one of the five movements, noting that choosing just one would “shift the culture of your congregation.” She continued: “I think the Presbyterian Church has so much to offer right now. …We have much to offer our neighbors and our neighbors have so much more to offer us.” She concluded her workshop with a charge, “Move on out!”