Turning Our Focus Outward

Like the concentric circles of a stone dropped in water,
an idea,
question,
inquiry,
dream,
vision
…creates ripples. Movement in once still water grows larger while also remaining connected to the initial disruption of the surface. Movement is the way change and transformation are created.

NEXT Church began as a movement over 14 years ago, striving to unleash the potential of gathering Presbyterians from across the country to dream and vision about the future of the Church. As the organization experienced exponential growth, it focused on internal stabilization as its primary solution: staffing and organizational structure, products and services, and brand development.

I believe the outward facing posture of our leadership is the work of NEXT Church in this season. The Vision Team and staff are listening to individuals within our network and the Church, at large. Some of the things we’ve heard:

  • People are tired, even burnt out, but uncertain about how to proceed (or even if they can continue).
  • There is a deep desire to do things differently and a lack of clarity as to what the new paths could be. Several times we have heard there is little energy to explore new approaches.
  • Continued work on NEXT Church’s Race Audit keeps the organization accountable to its own antiracist, anti-oppression work.
  • People value spaces of innovation, connection, and resourcing; many looking to NEXT Church for these opportunities.
  • There is a nimble, experimental space within NEXT Church which allows individuals and organizations to learn/grow in ways institutional structures cannot.
  • Churches, ministries, and individuals are seeking liberative ways to respond to God’s call in their lives.

Inspiration and accountability is in the network, not primarily its organizational structure and leadership. Deep listening centers us in our calling as leaders who seek the transformation of ourselves, our contexts, and the whole world together. This work is ever present and ongoing.

You are a vital part of this movement.
We need you to build the future of NEXT Church. Here’s how:

SUPPORT OUR WORK FINANCIALLY

NEXT Church is at a financial precipice. Our current operating budget is highly streamlined to continue to serve the Church: contract staff and coach payments, website and digital advertising, and tools to keep the network connected. We do not receive annual gifts from agencies of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). We rely on grants and individual gifts from churches, ministry partners, and individuals. A financial gift, either individually or from your church/organization, will significantly impact the close of 2023 and the continued ministry of NEXT Church. Make a financial gift today.

SHAPE THE NEXT NATIONAL GATHERING

One of the primary ways connections have happened is through annual national gatherings. Members of the Vision Team are planning future gatherings based on feedback from our network. Whether you’ve been several times or simply hope to attend in the future, please take 5 minutes to complete this quick survey.

PARTICIPATE IN THE UPCOMING TOWN HALL

Join us for a Town Hall on Thursday, September 28 from 1-2 pm EST. The NEXT Church Vision Team and staff are excited to share what we’ve been discussing, hearing, and discerning over the past few months. We will also answer questions and receive feedback from participants. To attend, please register for the Zoom link.

 

In the journey alongside you,

Larissa Kwong Abazia
Designated Strategic Director