What is this whole “Acts of Faith” thing and what is the role of South Presbyterian Church if everything is an Act of Faith?
Each one of us is an overlap of identities and interests: family, friends, work, play, hobbies and activities … the connections are infinite. And when one part is affected by a relationship with God and with others, all of the connections are affected.
At the heart of South Church’s identity is our Acts of Faith Model of Ministry. It brings together a small , grass-roots, organic group identity growing out of common needs or interests with a larger community understanding. Here’s a 3:21 video where some of our folks will introduce you to us through their own words.
We don’t think that we are called to have “church” on Sunday morning only. Church was never meant to be a segmented or partitioned part of our lives … it was meant to be the whole enchilada. We believe in welcoming “church” as a holistic expression of the community that grows out of a common desire to follow Jesus on the Way that he modeled for us. We feel that the Spirit calls us to be like Jesus, i.e. to live in the world and bring our faith to bear in everything that we do. (See or download our latest brochure by clicking HERE.)
Like most churches, we tried to increase membership by making our building and programming more attractive. But nothing seemed to work. Finally, we realized that it wasn’t working because God didn’t mean for it to work. Let’s face it: if God wants it to work, it will. And if not, then there must be something else that we are meant to do. We couldn’t become more “attractive” because we weren’t meant to be an attractional church anymore. We were being called to become MISSIONAL … to go out and serve like Jesus did. Matthew 28:19 really began to speak to us: “Go out and train everyone you meet, far and near, in [my] way of life (MSG).”
For us, that meant selling our building and becoming a multi-sited church … currently in eight different neighborhoods. But you don’t have to sell your building to become missional. You just have to realize that everything you do, everyone you meet, every interaction you have is part of church in one way or another because it’s all part of the KOG — the Kingdom of God.
So we set out to go where people needed us and to do the work that seemed to be what people needed.
We call this way of “doing church” our Acts of Faith Model of Ministry.
(For a complete list of current Acts of Faith, with a brief description as well as where and when they meet, CLICK HERE.)
So with all these ministries in all these locations, what is the role of South Church anymore?
Well … we are the collective identity of the Acts of Faith Community. We are the umbrella group resourcing with leadership training and our minimal infrastructure. We are like the franchise owner … each AoF has its own identity (like different McDonald’s or Wendy’s restaurants) but the content, the menu, is all coordinated and overseen — monitored, if you will — by South Presbyterian Church. For us, that means the Session (the church council) is responsible for the theology and administration of everything from traditional Sunday morning worship to Slow Sheep or Dinner & a Movie. No one AoF can be all things to all people. Each AoF just have to know how to resource their people in order to help meet their needs and interests. So South does that.
Each Act of Faith (AoF) is a circle of people sharing an interest or activity. Some of them have to do with worship or developing our spiritual connection with the Sacred; some do not. We hope you find at least one that speaks to you. And if NOT … we invite you to suggest a NEW one. If 2 or 3 people want to start a program (Running? Hiking? Bowling? Going to Opera Broadcasts at the Theater? or something else of your choosing) send a note via the Contact tab above. We will support it for 3 months and then take stock. If there’s Energy & Excitement coming from it, we’ll know the Spirit is moving. If not, we’ll know it’s not the right time for it yet and we’ll try something else.
Participating in one of our Acts of Faith does NOT mean that you have to join the church. You don’t even have to be Christian to participate. We welcome all sojourners.
Here are some links to other info, but if you keep reading below the links, you will be able to get more of a picture of this whole new concept for church.
– – – – –
Want to learn more about our Acts of Faith Model of Ministry? For a detailed description (complete with theological perspective and how this model has grown organically over the last few years), CLICK HERE
– – – – –
Go to the online Calendar for up-to-date gathering times, locations, and directions to each of our Acts of Faith.
Click here to learn more about our WORSHIP AoF’s.
– – – – –
Click here to learn more about our SOCIAL WITH A FOCUS AoF’s.
– – – – –
Click here to learn more about our STUDY & SHARING AoF’s.
– – – – –
So What Is Church Anyway?
It might be easier for us to tell you what church is NOT. As far as we are concerned, it’s not a place you go on Sunday morning to have somebody tell you about God.
Church is a state of mind as well as a state of being. It is an action verb. It’s something that we belong to 24/7.
And it covers a lot of things: study, service, worship, quietude, expression, learning, fellowship, and more. But one thing it always seems to include is COMMUNITY. We’re all in this together.
Just like the early Jesus-followers, we find ourselves trying to make sense of our world in light of our faith, our questions, our doubts and fears … in other words we try to LIVE as People of the Way. What Way? The Way of Jesus … that man who taught about God’s love and justice, about how to treat others and how to interact with our world in a way that’s positive and hope-filled.
But church is NOT a one-size-fits-all kind of thing. Some people like very formal interaction with God and others want things casual; some people really love Bible Study while others would rather go to the movies; some want to sit quietly with their thoughts while others want to talk and explore new ideas out loud.
Church can, and should, be ALL of those things. And we have found one way to do that.
Serve Up Your Own Plate
Sometimes we go out to eat with our family and one person wants breakfast food while another wants a four-course dinner. That’s the beauty of a BUFFET – everyone gets what
s/he wants but we still get to eat together as a family.
The Acts of Faith Community
Within the Acts of Faith (AoF) Community, there are activities for everyone. We believe, as it says in Acts 2:5-6 (see above) that God finds a way to speak to each one of us in a language that we can understand.
As a result, there are MANY ways that we do church. Some ways involve God-language and others might never mention God, even though the love of the Creator is present throughout.
The exciting thing is to find what you want from our buffet and if it’s not there, to help us create it with you.
We don’t want all desserts or all appetizers, and so we have found that in serving up our movable feast, it helps us to try and include AoF’s that speak to different parts of us. So we have those that include some form or Worship, Social Interaction with a Focus, or Study & Sharing.