First Sunday

Smith, Carl R. “First Sunday.” The Christian Century 111(24):772-774, August 24-31, 1994.

In “First Sunday,” Carl Smith narrates the first public meeting of New Hope Presbyterian Church in Indianapolis along with the ideas that led to its formation in order to outline three principles which the larger church can learn from new church starts. New Hope serves as a blend of both the traditional and the new, emphasizing personal as well as community growth, utilizing demographic data, staying open to change and new ideas, and providing small group studies and experiences. From this case study Smith draws these principles: (1) new church successes and frustrations can teach established churches why people come to new congregations and why they stay away from older ones; (2) new churches which rely on demographic data can educate others to use such data in shaping their mission and ministry; and (3) new churches provide an atmosphere for testing new liturgical forms. The article ends with a six-month update on the church’s progress.

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