By Christopher Schilling
itting down at large tables, 40 people took a mo-
ment and introduced themselves to one another.
Some of those at the tables were San Francisco
Theological Seminary students preparing to be
ministers. Others were established pastors who
have been doing ministry for years. What brought members
of this diverse group to the table were two things they had in
common: ideas and passion.
On March 2, students, alumni, local pastors, and church lay
leaders gathered at SFTS for a workshop titled “Get into the Game.”
SFTS Alumni Council President the Rev. Jack Hodges hosted the
The workshop was one in a series taking place all over the country
to equip current and future faith leaders with ideas and energy for creat-
ing new ministry opportunities. These workshops are part of an initiative to
create 1,001 new worshiping communities in the PC(USA) over the next 10
years. Unlike traditional church models, the 1001 worshiping communities
are envisioned as start-up ministries that employ different and creative ideas of
doing ministry and worship. Worshiping communities already inspired by the
initiative include coffee houses, cafes, theatre projects, youth athletic programs,
and volunteer organizations.
“If there is no way of trying new things, there is no way to move into the
future,” said Vera White, director of the 1001 New Worshiping Communities
initiative, to workshop participants. “1001 New Worshiping Communities is
about trying new things.”
Endorsed by the PC(USA)’s 220th General Assembly, 1001 New Wor-
shiping Communities is one of a number of efforts of the denomination to
encourage new vitality and growth. At a time when many congregations are
shrinking due to the secularization of American society and other challenges,
the 1001 New Worshiping Communities initiative seeks to be a framework for
the Church of the 21st-century.
building new ministries
SFTS CHIMES | Summer 2013