So what does reinvention mean? To me, it means heading into the future by looking into the past. While many churches are re-exploring their orthodox roots (i.e. the foundations laid by the early church fathers of Catholicism), I can’t help but feel compelled to go back even farther, to the church in its infancy during the decades following the ascension of Jesus and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon his followers.
Yet I also believe that only going back that far is not sufficient. There is an unmistakable reliance of the early church upon the knowledge of the Law and the Prophets, and the whole Old Testament narrative. Many of the traditions carried down through thousands of years remained significant, at least in meaning, to the New Testament church.
This means that we must take the Bible as we have it and make all of it (even the parts we don’t like or understand) meaningful and relevant as we work to reinvent – or re-establish – our identity as a local congregation. Writing this down is easy; doing it is somewhat difficult.
Our primary means toward reinvention is a simple question: Why? Why do we do the things we do, believe the things we believe, act the way we act, and perhaps most importantly, think the way we think?
The answers to these questions aren’t clear-cut, but offer us enormous insight into the purpose and mission of our congregation, both as it is and as it should be.