We’ve all known individuals who have not lived into their full redemptive potential as a result of self-diminishing tendencies. They are, for example, accomplished pianist but when asked to serve as a worship keyboardist they shrug off the invitation for lack confidence in their gifts. Another person who possesses great wisdom and wonderful interpersonal skills turns down an invitation to shepherd a small group because of a sense of inadequacy.
This lack of living into full redemptive potential is also true of multiple Christian Reformed and Reformed congregations according to Cally Parkinson co-author of the book MOVE: What a 1,000 Churches Reveal about Spiritual Growth. Cally participated in developing the REVEAL survey through Willow Creek Community Church in South Barrington, IL. More than 1,600 congregations representing a half a million congregants have taken this survey which provides an assessment of a congregation's spiritual maturity—an assessment that helps leaders design a path towards a deeper discipleship within a congregation.
Cally and her team analyzed this information and identified eight congregational archetypes. Among those eight is a category of congregations she and her team identify as “introverted”. Introverted congregations have great potential but are not fully living into their redemptive potential. They tend to be congregations with well-informed congregants who have been believers for multiple years but are under engaged when it comes to putting faith in action and connecting spiritually with near neighbors. Often these congregations show signs of unrest and have grown stagnant in faith formation.
The good news, according to Parkinson, is that introverted congregations have a unique opportunity to become high impact churches if their redemptive potential can be harnessed.
On Wednesday, June 4, Cally Parkinson and Mike Johnson, a CRC pastor who is the founder and executive director of Ascending Leaders, will conduct a seminar entitled “The Introverted Church” from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Providence Christian Reformed Church in Holland, MI. Also participating in the seminar is Mark Ashton. Eight years ago Mark became lead pastor of an inwardly focused and evangelistically ineffective introverted congregation. By God’s grace, the congregation took a major turn. Since then, an average of 250 people have been baptized each year. Additionally, they are having a transformational effect on an impoverished area of the city and planted four thriving churches. Together Parkinson, Johnson and Ashton will discuss the path from introversion to becoming vibrant faith communities living as God’s redemptive people in the communities where God has placed us.
Registration for the seminar takes place at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-introverted-church-registration-11271550511. Cost for the seminar is $17 including lunch ($14 for groups of four or more). Summary notes for those living outside the West Michigan area will be available by sending an e-mail request to Sam Huizenga at [email protected]