Emilie Townes: The Church is Transforming

In this video, Dean Emilie Townes discusses what she sees as the transformation of the church.

What You Do Matters

What would you like to do next with The Church is Transforming?

Adapting to the Transforming Church

This reflection can be used with Emilie Townes' video, "The Church is Transforming" either in a group setting or individually to further consider what the changing church means.

Extra wide don t just stand there

The following is an adaptation of Aaron Niequist's article, "Church is Bigger Than Church."


I am way more compelled by a church of the people than a church for the people.

I’m becoming increasingly captured by the idea of “the priesthood of all believers”—Church as a movement rather than an institution, and a Church created by the people rather than consumed by the people.

In a church for the people, worship means: Come hear our most gifted artists provide a worship experience that will inspire and bless you. When it’s done, you’ll want to give them a round of applause and thank God for giving such great gifts.

In a church of the people, worship becomes: Prayerful, intentional space that empowers the people to co-create a worship experience—both as individuals and as a body, both at home and when together. The church helps people connect with God and each other.

In a church for the people, evangelism means: Bring your friend to church to hear the pastor explain the truth to them. It exports evangelism to the expert and often reduces the sweeping story of God to presented information.

In a church of the people, evangelism becomes: Training up disciples and launching them out to serve the world and share their story—and helping foster a community so alive and beautiful that people can’t wait to join.

In a church for the people, mission means: Give your money to the church so it can take care of the poor. You write a check, and they’ll take it from there.

But in a church of the people, mission declares: No one knows the poor in your town better than you. Let us help you serve them. And if you don’t know the poor in your town, following Jesus means you’ll need to make some changes. Please let us help you humbly engage, learn from and serve the poor in your town.

What You Do Matters

What would you like to do next with The Church is Transforming?

Take Action

Rethinking Church

As we respond to Emilie Townes' video, "The Church is Transforming," this action relates ways of rethinking church.

Within the United Methodist Church, there is a movement called Rethink Church.

Rethink Church's mission is to expand the idea of church as more than a place to go to worship. As they say, "We think it's important to live our faith both inside and outside the church walls, serving our neighbors and those around the world. We think putting our beliefs into action can create systemic change and transform the lives of others."

Rethink Church engages in Spirituality, Restorative Justice, Hunger, Women's Empowerment, Education, and many more issues because they believe that it is just as important to take action outside the church to serve our neighbors as it is to welcome them into the walls of the church.

As the things that happen inside the walls of our churches change, may we also transform the ways we take church beyond those walls. Here are a few ideas that you can take to your congregation or your community:

  1. Connect with local non-profits and organizations engaged in service in your local community.
  2. Stay keyed into the local political atmosphere--ministry and change begin closest to us, where we can most directly affect change.
  3. Be open to the ideas of people who think differently about church than you. There is room at the table, in the sanctuary, and in service for all.

What You Do Matters

What would you like to do next with The Church is Transforming?

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