On the weekend of Jan. 6-7, approximately 250 laity and clergy from ten districts gathered at Trinity United Methodist Church in Greeneville, Tenn., for a workshop called "Reaching People Under 40 While Keeping People Over 60." The workshop was based on the book of the same name by the Rev. Eddie Hammett, who also led the event.
Hammett is a pastor, speaker, author, and certified coach with the Columbia Partnership in North Carolina. He has also worked with several denominations and has led several events for the Western North Carolina Conference.
The workshop, sponsored by the Morristown District Discipleship Team, focused on the immediate need that churches have in reaching new people for Christ. Hammett spoke of creating "Win/Win" scenarios for all age groups in the church. Church members live and minister in a day when people are living longer, marrying later, and living lives and relationships that are atypical for many who grew up before 1960. The church now has the responsibility and opportunity to reach from five to seven generations that are alive today and in many communities.
With this great opportunity comes greater challenge. Each generation thinks differently, learns differently, and has various personal preferences when it comes to worship styles, music preferences, and ways of being and doing church in the 21st century world. The question is: How do churches effectively meet the needs of such a wide variety of persons, families, and affinity groups?
Initial feedback from the event has been overwhelmingly positive. The Morristown District is considering a partnership with Hammett to lead more events in the future. For more information on the book or author, visit www.transformingsolutions.org or www.thecolumbiapartnership.org.