I would love to say that visiting the Church Brew Works here in Pittsburgh was a kind of research but it wouldn’t strictly be true. Although it has given me a great idea for a fresh expression if there’s ever an opportunity!
While I do find it sad that the 100 year old Catholic church building had to close for worship, in its new incarnation the Church Brew Works was heaving with young people tonight, exactly the demographic that’s missing from many of our churches.
This week has been a conference about creating missional congregations, churches that are prepared to listen to their local community and go to where they are to meet them rather than expecting them to come to us.
It has inspired me and given me lots to think about as I return to the UK and I now know that I want to get involved in further research to help and support the church as we try to assess the impact of the many new initiatives and ideas coming our way.
I still don’t quite know how it will work out. To be honest I’ve been on a bit of a roller coaster this week. Much of the time I have felt hopelessly out of my depth and a bit of a waste of space, overlooked and in the way. But just occasionally I have felt that maybe I do have something to offer, if not now then in the future.
I don’t think I’ll be able to keep up a frequent blog once I get home but I do want to keep writing. Perhaps this is the new turn that I sensed my path would take up on Hadrian’s Wall, an opportunity to do some innovative congregational research, and if that means having the odd beer in a converted old church, then so be it!