Disciples News Service

Anew Church: Welcoming all to a new worship experience

Submitted by New Church Ministry

Sometimes a name says it all. But, sometimes, it only hints at all there is to know.

Anew Church is a Chicago-based Disciples ministry serving the residents of the Roseland, Woodlawn, West Pullman, Chatham, and South Shore neighborhoods. The stated mission of this self-described ‘church without walls’ is to “make our communities safer, stronger and better” and that’s exactly the focus of congregational activities.

“We believe that a church is its people, not a building. So, it’s important for us to be out among our neighbors, walking beside them, making their lives, and ours, better,” explains founding pastor Rev. Dr. Franshonn Salter. “Our name comes from Isaiah 43:19 which begins ‘I am about to do a new thing’ and we describe ourselves as ‘A Nontraditional Extravagantly Welcoming church – an acronym for the loving acceptance of Jesus we’re trying to emulate.”

The vision for the church started years ago when Dr. Salter, who works both as a pastor and a social worker, noticed the common disconnect between Christendom and young people. Eventually, it became the focus of her doctoral dissertation, Hip-Hop Worship: Bridging the Gap between Youth Culture and the Church, and a road map for a new kind of church, one that spoke to today’s youth.

“We look for ways to involve young people in our ministry. To give them ownership and leadership in who we are,” says Pastor Franshonn. “That’s why our worship services are held in each of our neighborhoods on a rotating basis, often in coffee shops, and include hip-hop, rap or spoken word in addition to a Message from me. We also have regular Artist Showcases presenting rap, spoken word, dance and song. It’s all to reach out to them not only where they live, but how they live, and to model Christianity as a relevant, engaging part of our lives. With Jesus as our example, how can we miss?”

Through the 2020 Vision, the new church movement has already helped the Disciples family grow by nearly 1,000 new and affiliated faith communities. Anew Church is an example of doing it in ‘a 1,000 different ways.’ As a multi-site, mobile church focused on community service and welcoming ALL to the Lord’s Table, Anew church is answering God’s call to serve its neighbors, spread the gospel, and make Disciples…especially among the young. It is supported in these efforts by New Church Ministry and people like you who support the annual Pentecost Offering.

Each year, half of this offering stays in the local Region or Area where it was collected to start and uphold new churches. The other half is used across the United States and Canada to support the recruiting, assessing, training and coaching of new church leaders at events like Leadership Academy.

The 2019 Pentecost Offering will take place Sunday, June 9. Please consider a contribution to support the new church movement, New Church Ministry and more new congregations like Anew Church.