Faith and Leadership: Vibrant Institutions: Jacob's Well
It’s one thing to start a church; it's another to keep it going. As Jacob’s Well has discovered, even the most cutting-edge, creative and vibrant church has to have organization and structure.
August 28, 2012 | At first glance, Jacob’s Well, a nondenominational “emerging” church in Kansas City, Mo., would seem to be the most traditional of churches. On the outside, the handsome old red-brick building has been a comforting neighborhood presence ever since Presbyterians built it in 1930.
Inside, the sanctuary features stained-glass windows, the Lord’s Prayer in gold letters above the altar and velvet cushions on creaking pews, all witness to the saints who’ve gone before.
But every Sunday -- at least since 1998, when Jacob’s Well was launched and took over the building -- the place is filled with lively worship and a body of believers that earlier congregations likely never envisioned. The music is contemporary and the dress casual, even scruffy, with more than a few tattoos and piercings scattered among the crowd.
During his sermon, the Rev. Tim Keel -- the senior pastor and a founder of the emerging/emergent church movement -- strolls the aisle, talking in conversational tones as though engaging listeners in a theological dialogue.
But for the past five months, stirring beneath the surface, something else has also been going on. Throughout Jacob’s Well, bones are being formed; a skeleton is taking shape.
This extraordinary church, known for its theological rigor and its creative and dynamic ministries, has been engaging in the most mundane of endeavors. After months of preparation and study, it has launched a major reorganization that establishes clear lines of authority while empowering members to become more involved in the church’s daily life.
As Jacob’s Well has discovered, even the most cutting-edge, creative and vibrant church has to have organization and structure. It’s one thing to start a church. It’s quite another to keep it going. Reflecting the growing maturation of the emerging church movement, Jacob’s Well is navigating the transition between church plant and long-term sustainability. ...
I was a member of Roanoke Presbyterian Church from 1993-2003. In 1998, a friend (Steve Hall) told me he was part of a group that was wanting to plant a church in my neighborhood. I told him the third floor of our building was unused and that they might be able to use that space. I brought the idea to session and Jacob's Well began holding their first services there. The rest is history. It was a privilege to watch the ministry take root during those first five years before our Presbyterian congregation decided to dissolve and sell the building to Jacob's Well. It is a truly unique community. Read the whole post. There is some good stuff here.