New Worshiping Community / Nuclear Congregation / Church Plant Definition

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The committee believes that changing the mind-set of the UPCSA from an institution to a movement will require a redefinition of the most basic unit, the congregation. What is a congregation? At the most basic level, a congregation is a gathering, an ecclesia. This is a dynamic term not a static one. We can also say that the gathering is regular. It happens (most often) weekly or even more regularly. It meets in a predictable (and convenient) meeting place. When it meets, the Word and the Sacraments are central.

We would like to find a definition where money does not define the status of a congregation. We are also coming to believe that a congregation does not necessarily progress through stages to “Full status”. Some will remain small. Growth does not necessarily enlarge the one congregation. Sometimes it results in the planting of many congregations.

Perhaps we will even see a network or a federation of smaller worshipping communities similar to outstations in the future of the Church. In all things, a fluidity of thinking is important as we explore a future in which the “one size fits all” model will not work.

Here’s what we are working with for now…

A congregation (or worshipping community) is a group of people
who gather regularly to meet Christ in Word and sacrament,
practice mutual care and make disciples in our changing culture.
They do so while seeking to participate with God in the transformation of the world.
As communities, they move toward sustainability in leadership and ministry.

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