Indigenous ministries, grassroots leadership, and financial generosity are all trends commonly part of international missions. But what do those same commitments look like when applied in traditional churches in the United States? Leadership asked three pastors who have led their congregations toward radical missional expressions to describe the convictions and commitments that transformed their churches.
Growing Where You're PlantedAntioch (The Church of the Y)
Pastor David Newman
A few years ago, Antioch Church began holding services at the Countryside YMCA in Lebanon, Ohio, a northern suburb of Cincinnati. At the time, the congregation considered the location a temporary space that would suffice until they could find or build a permanent facility. But since then, Antioch has recognized the YMCA as a mission field and has made this rented space its permanent home.
In the New Testament, the church went where the people were, pastor David Newman explains, and the Y is where people are today. "I have 8,000 people a day walking the halls in the place where I minister. That's an extraordinary opportunity." Not only does the Y attract a host of nonbelievers every day, the institution's demographic is a wide cross-section of the area's population.
To reach them, Antioch meets in a gym in the YMCA facility (for a very modest fee). During the week, church members teach classes, serve on the board, coach t-ball and soccer—whatever they can to be a missional presence at the Y. Families are often attracted to the Y by some desire for personal improvement, whether it's learning a skill, getting into shape, or spending more time with the kids.
A common story at Antioch, according to Newman, is a young family coming ...