Culture change…oh my!

August 14, 2019

At Annual Conference this year, each attendee received a glossy new church-planting brochure celebrating the more than 45 active projects across the Dakotas-Minnesota Area.

Very cool…and already very out of date!   
In the few weeks since our respective Dakotas and Minnesota annual conferences, several new initiatives have begun to emerge:

• a Minnesota congregation and leader wanting to start a new recovery congregation for unreached people in their community
• a Dakotas congregation wanting to start a Hispanic congregation in a nearby town where there isn’t one
• a youth minister expressing a call to plant a church to reach new people
• two pastors expressing a desire to see their congregations take a bold step and start a new service or site that will significantly expand their reach.    
What’s going on here?! Could it be that a culture of “church for us” is shifting to “church for them?” Oh my!
As you know, we are working to accelerate the growth rate within the Minnesota Conference from about half of 1 percent to 3 percent each year—which translates to starting roughly 10 new congregations each year. I’m pleased to report that in 2019, more than one dozen new multiplication efforts have begun to take shape, thus exceeding this ambitious target.
This fall we will offer a “Startup Incubator” in Minneapolis (Sept. 24-25) and Bismarck, North Dakota (Oct. 16-17). It’s designed to teach leaders best practices for innovative start-up projects before they dive into those projects. In the past, I’ve typically recruited the dozen or so people who attend each event. But this year, people I’ve not spoken with are proactively signing up because they have an interest in new places for new people! This is tremendous! 
What’s going on here?! The Holy Spirit is indeed breaking through and the culture is changing. Oh my! 

Rev. Ben Ingebretson is director of new church development for the Dakotas-Minnesota Area of The United Methodist Church.

Minnesota Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church

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