Would a church still be a church if there were no regular Sunday service?
Take Sprout, for instance. Sprout is a garden worked by anyone willing to get involved. Sprout operates on the idea that belonging leads to believing.
“Do these people know who Jesus is? No,” said Rev. Randy Van Osdol. “It’s about developing a relationship. There’s something about belonging that God is using to transform them.”
Sprout is part of Imagine, a series of missional communities intentionally formed in the Bozeman, Mont., area, led by Van Osdol.
“We are going to have to reimagine what a congregation should look like,” Van Osdol said, “[to] rediscover church as something more than a building, a one-special-day-a-week religious event, and a gathering largely dependent on professional clergy.”
Van Osdol and his team came up with Imagine after studying Scripture to build a new kind of church.
Van Osdol sees the need to do more than just spend time in the dirt. Imagine has formed a “huddle,” a smaller group of people who meet to disciple one another.
“That’s where you’re really focusing on looking at your life . . . being honest and open about those things, and being willing to be accountable to other people to become like Jesus.”
Each huddle is designed to meet for a little more than a year and then disperse and form a new huddle with new people.
Supported by Christian Reformed Home Missions, Bozeman Christian Reformed Church, and Classis Yellowstone (a regional group of churches), Imagine has broken the mold of traditional church, Van Osdol said.
Van Osdol recognizes the tension between traditional church and this new idea. He believes that both will continue, each serving different types of people.
“Some people are built and inherently wired to want to gather. God made them that way,” he said. But not everyone is built that way, which is why he has created Imagine.
“There’s a growing uneasiness and a desire for something more than what they’re getting. I think that desire is being met in this missional, incarnational way of doing church.”