Until very recently (with the COVID19 crisis), we typically think of a church as a congregation with a building or buildings including a sanctuary, classrooms, offices, a fellowship space, and a kitchen. We think of a church having a professional pastor, music director, secretary, and maybe additional staff. It is a place where we hear a sermon, study the Bible, meet friends, give money, have fun, eat meals, and volunteer our talents. Congregations are important, and many people have been richly blessed by their ministries.
But what if there are other ways to have Christian community and serve Christ? When we look at our Moravian history we see that our forebears in faith were innovative and experimented with a variety of forms of church. In the past, we have had house churches, societies, chapels, preaching stations, Sunday Schools, missions, businesses, workshops, choir houses, boarding schools, day schools, sea congregations, and settlements. We have also had people serve in various ministries and offices: pastors, deacons, accoluths, bishops, choir helpers, musicians, evangelists, missionaries, teachers, business managers, scholars, ship captains, farmers, lawyers, translators, counselors, and the list goes on.
These resources help us explore several types of Christian ministries and communities Moravians had in the past and also examine emerging ministries Moravians are developing now. What new possibilities exist for the church of the future as we respond to changes in American culture? The church as we know it is transforming. Just as the caterpillar seems to die in the cocoon before it re-emerges as a butterfly, our church may be transforming into a new and beautiful form of Christian community.
- Church No Matter What: This collection of resources provides a look at ways we can be church during the unprecedented global pandemic of 2020. (Website – MoravianBCM.org)
- Moravian Faith Communities: Now – A Presentation by the Rev. Andrew Heil for the Comenius Learning Series, 2019 (Video)
- Moravian Congregations: A Historical Perspective – A Presentation by the Rev. Dr. Craig Atwood for the Comenius Learning Series, 2019 (Video)
- BCM’s featured YouTube playlist on Community provides a variety of perspectives on what it means to be in community, yesterday and today.