Deep and Wide: Dimensions of the Renewal of the Church
Duke Divinity School and Renewal
The stories of Lance Richards at Lexington UMC, Hannah Terry and Taylor Meador Fuerst at Westbury UMC, and Emily Chapman at St. Paul’s UMC are distinctive but not unique examples of the numerous Duke Divinity School graduates in many denominations in a variety of ecclesial settings across the nation, as well as the world, practicing Christian ministry for the renewal of the church. Duke Divinity School forms students to participate in God’s work of church renewal. This formation prepares them to serve in places where they are participating in the renewal of the church.
These are not simply stories of churches experiencing rapid membership growth. They are stories about God’s people learning what it means to be communities of faith and of crossing boundaries to meet Christ in their neighbors.
One of the challenges the church is facing is its failure to engage younger people in the life of the church. Youth and young adults of this generation expect diversity. They want to engage with the world around them in a real way. They want a living faith that is rooted in something much larger than them. Each of the ministries in this article engages people of all ages while also giving younger generations a vision for a renewed church that is not irrelevant and unnecessary but a vital and living community of faith.
The dimensions of church renewal, both wide and deep, are evidence of the full scope of God’s mercy and love extended to people in all times and all places. This renewal brings transformation. This renewal of the church provides evidence of God’s reign here and now—in people, congregations, and communities—and invites us to participate in God’s work.