Nimble, flexible, adept, church—which one of these is not like the other? While a church historian might wax eloquently about the ways that Christianity as a whole has morphed and changed throughout the centuries and especially within America, most any casual observer would scoff when considering the scope of change and adaptation within individual churches.
And while the argument could be made the Christianity has been nimble and flexible historically, history is also replete with example of individual churches and contextual movements being unable or unwilling to adapt to the changing cultural landscapes. Any survey of older, established churches across America today reveals years of stiffness and rigidity.
While the Covid-19 pandemic has been devastating for churches and American Christianity in some ways with financial and participation implications that are in many ways just being felt now—in other ways it has been a unique opportunity in that it forced churches that were refusing to change to do that very thing. Yet, rather than taking a deep breath and letting off the gas, now is the time to lean further into adaptation rather than throttling back.
For the faithful church leader and pastor, now is the time to look carefully and attentively at every mission, ministry, and program of the church, seeking to more closely align the actions of the church with the mission of the church and the needs of the community. Yet, this is far easier said than done.
Douglas Powe, author of the book The Adept Church, talks about how churches can move from slow and stagnant to nimble and adept. In the podcast, Doug shares important thoughts and insights from his book, especially how churches can move from stagnation to transformation.
F. Douglas Powe, Jr. is an ordained elder in the Baltimore/Washington Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church. He is the Director of the Lewis Center for Church Leadership and professor of evangelism and of urban ministry at Wesley Theological Seminary. Powe is committed to helping urban congregations and congregations in transitional areas to flourish through community partnering. His research interest are church revitalization, urban theology and Methodist theology. He holds an MDiv from Candler School of Theology and a PhD in systematic theology from Emory University.