I spent three days in Ohio last week at Ginghamsburg United Methodist Church’s Change The World Conference. I went as part of the Reynolds Leadership Program which sends 25 pastors from North Carolina to various training events four times per year.
Ginghamsburg is a Methodist miracle. When Michael Slaughter became the senior pastor there in 1979, it averaged 90 people in worship & met in a two room church building. Today, with Slaughter still at the helm, it hosts about 4400 people per weekend meeting in sites throughout the Dayton area. It has long been known for innovation in worship, commitment to small groups, and a focused ministry with and for people on the margins of society.
These days, Slaughter serves as more prophet than pastor; more agitator than chaplain. Because of that, he and his team of speakers delivered some memorable — and provocative — one liners. Here are five of my favorite:
1. The church’s job is to bring the resources of heaven down to earth, not to send disembodied souls to heaven.
2. If it’s not good news for the poor, it’s not good news.
3. You don’t have to scream Jesus if you do Jesus.
4. Stop asking ‘how many people do we get in?’ Start asking, ‘how many people who are in are we getting out (into the community)?’
5. If you don’t serve, you’ll feel uncomfortable in this church.