This month our services at the Canton COB have focused on renewal. How have we experienced renewal of what the sacrifice of Jesus means in our lives? How have we witnessed renewal in nature? How have we experienced renewal regarding our commitment to sustaining the environment? These are powerful questions we’ve reflected on throughout the month. But this Sunday, it’s appropriate to explore what renewal means in regards to the church. The Covid-19 pandemic has undoubtedly changed the way we “do” church. Most conversations about church and the idea of “renewal” tend to focus on the challenges.
A recent gallup poll, for instance, found that fewer than half of Americans belong to a house of worship. This is the first time this has ever occurred since Gallup began asking this question more than 80 years ago. Even more remarkable is how rapidly changes are taking place as just 20 years ago the poll revealed that 70% of Americans belonged to a church, synagogue, or mosque. For years, demographers characterized millennials as “the rise of the nones,” yet research shows these “nones” are actually on the rise in every age bracket born before 1946.
This morning our aim is to confront these challenges by reflecting on where we see hope. As Winston Churchill once said, “A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” In particular, we want to explore how newer generations of leaders are redefining ways to do church. To help us better understand this renewal we are extremely fortunate to have Emmett Witkovsky-Eldred with us as our guest.
Emmett is a leading advocate for young adult participation in the church. He was a former intern for On Earth Peace, he was a Youth and Young Adult Ministry Assistant, he served as a contributing editor to Messenger magazine, and he’s a frequent guest speaker at COB conferences & worship services.
Emmett organized what’s known as the Dunker Punk movement. His leadership then inspired the Arlington COB to start the Dunker Punks Podcast which Emmett serves as a co-host. The DPP has grown today into a country-wide movement that sees headphones and USB cords stretching like the mustard seed weed in Jesus’ parable. The DPP amplifies young prophetic voices to reach across and beyond traditional church, because everyone deserves community in Christ. Emmett was an original voice on the show and has furthered the project in numerous ways. He has a lot of insight into the young adult experience in the church today and we are thrilled to have him as our guest.
Links to the elements of the service:
Video Clip – Millennial Church Hunters
Song/Video – Dunker Punks Jacob Krause “Move in Our Midst”
Song/Video – Dunker Punks Jacob Krause “Count on You”
BENEDICTION – “It’s in Your Hands” (Fannie Lou Hamer)