Mary Jacobs of the United Methodist Reporter has recently written a feature piece on Munger Place Church. Munger is the church that my family has been involved with since it began the process of relaunching about a year ago. Public worship services began in October and have been ongoing since. I have been working on a longer post on Munger in my head for weeks now, but until I get it down here I will say that there are two things that I think Munger Place is doing that offer a model for The United Methodist Church.
First, campus pastor Andrew Forrest is serious about working to reclaim a contemporary equivalent of the early Methodist class meeting. Andrew calls these groups Kitchen Groups, and they are primarily focused on creating a space where people come together to talk about how their journey as followers of Jesus Christ is going – that is the primary purpose and activity of Kitchen Groups.
The second thing about Munger that really excites me is that it is providing an opportunity for a young person with obvious gifts to gain real ministry experience in a growing church. Andrew will graduate from Perkins School of Theology this spring, and as a result is in the process of applying for commissioning as an elder. It excites me that he is not just observing, but leading and even preaching at a church that had 700 people in attendance on its first week in worship and has consistently had 400 people a week in worship since. For all the talk about the need for younger clergy in the denomination, I don’t often see younger clergy given this kind of opportunity to thrive in ministry. If the UMC is serious about attracting the best and brightest of the up and coming generations, it will need to be willing to take risks on gifted people like Andrew.
You can visit Munger’s website here.