Below is summary of a webinar presented by The Church Network discussing the Project Thrive 7 Thriving Traits found in a congregational study conducted by Belmont in 2019. The webinar is part of a series that focuses on how congregations practice the thriving traits.
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Thriving Trait 1: Hopefulness
Defined by Project Thrive: born out of a renewed passion
Matt Cook describes hopefulness to be the soil out of which the energy of the congregation grows to sustain its ability to be a witness to world.
Guest speakers Mike Queen and Andrew Daugherty share their experiences of hope in their congregations.
Rooted in Hope
Andrew Daugherty is a Senior Pastor in Boulder, Colorado. Pine Street Church transformed over the years to respond to the city of Boulder, which has been nationally recognized as the happiest city and has the highest self-identified “not-religious population” in the United States.
The church in Boulder reimagined and rebranded itself to become clear of its identity and mission. When their core identity is shared in the community openly, it draws others to find hope in relationships and ministries of the church. Here are two fruitful examples of their transformation:
- Pine Street Church had 7 Core Values and 24 talking points detailing the values. The congregation distilled its written mission to a six-word message.
- Pine Street Church is now a community center: recovery groups, art galleries, pre-school, and recording studio for podcasts.
Mike Queen is a retired Pastor of First Baptist Church and Center for Healthy Churches consultant. Mike emphasizes the importance of hope being the focal point of a congregation:
- “When and where the church acts in [intentional] freedom and courage, it finds that the gift of new life is surprisingly given.” (Hopeful Imagination by W. Brueggemann)
- Intentionality is important for where you are going and how to respond to culture
- Strategic processes intentionally spear towards the future
- Frequently share about hope in sermons
- Encourage lay people to step up and take ownership of ministries to propel the lived-vision of the church
- Create an environment where if someone comes up with an idea, instead of asking for approval, the church can respond by asking “how can we help you?”
First Baptist Church bought an abandoned county jail to create a ministry center to house non-profit ministries. It took a place of despair and turned it into a place of hope. The center is an example of hope lived out, as it infused an idea of hope and people believed they could intentionally reach the community. The ministry center has been a life changing decision for the church and its community.
A Cycle of Hope
Matt affirms that when leaders in the church cultivate hope and encourage the congregation to see that they are capable of more, it creates a virtuous cycle.
Watch the full Hopefulness webinar here.