Take the Next Step: Reaching More People, Younger People, More Diverse People

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“There is no future for a church or denomination that cannot reach more people, younger people, and more diverse people,” according to Dr. Lovett H. Weems, Jr., founding director of the Lewis Center for Church Leadership. Weems has also observed that the church will either successfully achieve all three goals, or it will achieve none, because they are inextricably linked. If the church succeeds in reaching more people, they are likely to be younger people. Likewise, if we reach more people, they likely will be more diverse

At a recent symposium honoring Dr. Weems’s ministry, Bishop Kenneth H. Carter, Bishop Janice Riggle Huie, and Rev. Dr. Joseph W. Daniels addressed the challenge of reaching more, younger, and more diverse people — a looming adaptive challenge that can only be met through major learning, innovation, and wisdom. The Lewis Center for Church Leadership is pleased to share the following videos from that symposium.


Take the Next Step: The Importance of Reaching More People, Younger People, and More Diverse People (3:59)

Dr. Lovett H. Weems, Jr., founding director of the Lewis Center for Church Leadership, explains the challenge of reaching more people, younger people, and more diverse people, and why these three goals are inextricably linked.


Reaching More People: Toward a Mixed Economy of Church (15:23)

Dr. Kenneth H. Carter, bishop of the Florida Conference of the United Methodist Church, addresses the challenge of reaching more people. He explains the need to reach the 80 percent of people who are not inclined to find their way to church on their own. He advocates moving toward a “mixed economy of church” in which the work of strong, vital congregations is enhanced through “fresh expressions” of ministry that take church to people in the neighborhoods, networks, and third places they already inhabit.


Reaching Younger People: Overinvesting in the Young (16:41)

Dr. Janice Riggle Huie, a retired bishop of the United Methodist Church now serving with the Texas Methodist Foundation, addresses the challenge of reaching younger people. She explains how the “pipeline” that used to transport young people through children’s, youth, and campus ministry, and then back into local congregations as spiritually mature adults is now “full of cracks and leaks.” The church can only recover if it is willing to “over invest” resources and leadership capital on the young.


Reaching More Diverse People: Embracing the Neighbors Around Us (10:29)

Rev. Dr. Joseph W. Daniels, Jr., lead pastor of Emory United Methodist Church in Washington, DC, addresses the challenge of reaching more diverse people. He maintains that churches must learn to see their communities as their congregations and embrace the neighbors that surround them. Meeting the metrics of the Kingdom of God involves meeting people’s tangible needs.

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The Lewis Center staff has assembled and edited this material.