When: November 10 , Saturday, 8:30 AM – 3 PM
Where: Hopewell UMC, 852 Hopewell Road, Downingtown, PA
Who: The Rev. Jasmine Smothers (presenter), Lead pastor: Atlanta First UMC, Atlanta, GA
Faith-sharing is risky business—especially when it’s done right. It could lead to spiritual and numerical growth. But the riskier potential outcome is change—indeed a change that might start small but could soon lead to—wait for it…”Transformation.”
If your church agrees with the Eastern PA Conference’s vision of becoming more “United in Christ, Committed to Transformation,” then our 5th annual Faith-Sharing Seminar may be for you. In fact, it may be just what the Great Physician ordered for what ails you.
If your church leaders are interested in “Sharing Faith with New People and Younger People in Today’s Context” then this theme for the Nov. 10 seminar at Hopewell UMC says it all. But while it says “New People,” it may also mean “Sharing Faith in New Ways.” Risky business indeed. In fact, the new ways of faith-sharing that your leaders may learn or envision for themselves at this seminar might require change, but they could also lead to transformation.
The Rev. Jasmine Smothers, seminar presenter and lead pastor at Atlanta First UMC, in Atlanta, GA, describes many of the ideas she will share as “Not Safe for Church,” borrowing the popular social media sharing caution “Not Safe for Work (NSFW).” That is the title of the book she co-wrote in 2015 with urban evangelism specialist and seminary professor the Rev. F. Douglas Powe Jr. The full title of this risky read: Not Safe For Church: The Ten Commandments for Reaching New Generations.
The book is Bible-based, but it riffs Ten Commandments chapter titles in contemporary slang, such as: “Thou Shall Chill: What’s at Stake (Let It Go);” “Thou Shall Not Front: Be Authentic;” “Thou Shall Not Trip: Discuss Taboo Subjects;” and “Thou Shall Check Yourself before You Wreck Yourself.”
NSFC offers ideas that churches wanting to play it safe and not introduce change would likely find unsafe for maintaining their status quo. Their status quo in ministry style and substance—including worship, evangelism, discipleship training, etc.— may be withering on the vine and failing to attract new people. But it may seem safe, familiar and protective for church members who prefer tradition over transformation.
Smothers is the youngest and the first female, African-American pastor appointed to lead historic Atlanta First UMC. Her youthful ingenuity and passion for doing meaningful ministry have contributed to remarkable growth in a once-declining church. She will share her wisdom and witness while challenging seminar attendees to “think differently.”
Smothers serves her church, community and conference as an ordained elder, preacher, teacher, consultant, leadership coach, author, community advocate and self-proclaimed “technology geek.” And she has served churchwide on task forces to resource ministry with young people.
Are you ready to be the congregation that connects with new people in new and meaningful ways? Congregations must start engaging in new practices that push beyond their comfort zones. Smothers’ groundbreaking ideas can help churches move out of their comfort zones to engage new generations and see their community through new eyes.
Check out the following related resources:
What Young People Want from the Church (From Interpreter magazine)
By Douglas Powe and Jasmine Smothers–May – June 2015
Rev. Jasmine Smothers speaks to the United Methodist Camp & Retreat Ministries (UMCRM) Association 2015 National Gathering