What would totally inclusive worship look like?
That was one of the questions examined at “The Accessible Gospel” conference held in Brampton, Ont., on September 17. More than 100 participants worshiped and learned together at the one-day event, which was the first organized by the new Connections Project team.
Worship was the focus of the day, including an address by Syd Hielema about creating an atmosphere of hospitality and inclusivity within the church. Hielema is team leader for the CRC’s Faith Formation Ministries. Workshops focused on specific topics such as worshiping with mission in mind and intergenerational worship.
Marian Lensink, a member of the Connections Project, said the group wanted to plan an event as well provide a worship conference to replace one that was formerly held at Redeemer University College.
Derek Atkins, Connections Project coordinator, explained what the new Connections Project is. Funded by a grant, it launched this past summer in southern Ontario, the United States midwest, and California. Over the next three years, the team hopes to help churches grow by coaching, providing resources, and developing groups made up of members of several churches. Coached by Connections Project leaders, the groups will meet together periodically to study a topic or book on a specific need or concern. The hope is that participating churches will benefit from the shared learning experience.
“It’s a different posture,” explained Lensink. “We would be a coach rather than be an expert. The coaching model is not a top-down process but helping churches where they are at.”
The Connections Project team will be making presentations within the various pilot regions this fall to share the vision and resource opportunities.