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Using innovative tradition to take worship outside the church doors

"We get caught up in the trap of thinking worship is isolated from the rest of the world, forgetting that Jesus carried out his ministry in the streets," says the Rev. Steven Wilco, pastor of Immanuel Lutheran Church in Amherst, Mass., and a participant in the ecumenical movement that is taking worship into the streets, pubs, and gardens of western Massachusetts.

The Clearstory Collective, brainchild of campus ministry veteran, the Rev. Chris Carlisle, who serves as director of higher education and young adult ministry for the Episcopal Diocese in Western Mass., intentionally seeks out and welcomes in existing innovative ministry programs regardless of denominational connection. One consequence: more traditional church members have begun to see that church growth goes beyond their own congregation, and have begun to think in terms of the impact of all of the local congregations on their shared geography  including a worldwide geography online.

Churches, for their part, see participation in the Collective as an opportunity to learn new skills, discover best practices for connecting with people who do not feel a connection to institutional faith, and find fellowship within the larger Christian multi-denominational community. To learn more, read "Innovative and Ancient, the ministry of Clearstory Collective," on the website of Faith & Leadership, a Leadership Education offering of Duke Divinity School. For more on the concept, see Leadership & Education's section on Traditioned Innovation. Also explore "Civic Engagement" and "Youth" under our "Congregations" tab, as well our feature article, "Reversing the Exodus: 7 Traits of Churches that Successfully Attract Young Adults." Finally, our article, "Best Resources on Youth and Youth Programming for Congregations," will lead to helpful additional material related to connecting with young adults. 



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