In the Diocese of Atlanta, ministry innovations are being identified, encouraged, and amplified in a new way.
While grants to support innovative ministries have been available since 2012, the focus of these grants has changed.
The Diocesan Ministry Innovations Task Force is tightening its focus to helping parishes perceive and imagine new opportunities for ministries within the parish and its surrounding community, said Task Force Convener Ginny Heckel.
Heckel said the Task Force is working with the Office of Congregational Vitality to identify and support parishes doing new ministries.
“The goal is to collaborate with groups or individuals who have new and innovative ideas for ministry,” Heckel said. “Our focus will be to create opportunities for worshipping communities and other Diocesan ministries to expand their presence in their communities through innovative partnering projects.”
The first grant awarded with this new focus was to Imagine Worship for the purchase of a Candy Apple Red Nord Stage 3 Compact 73-Key Keyboard.
While Imagine Worship isn’t a brick-and-mortar community, Heckel said it met the criteria of being an innovative way to expand the Episcopal presence in the online community it serves.
“This initial grant highlights the expanding of imagination in ministries we are seeking to encourage,” Heckel said.
Easton Davis, Canon for Communications and Digital Evangelism, said Imagine Worship has innovated in response to the needs of its community.
“Imagine Worship began in 2020 as Imagine Church, a completely online worship experience focused on responding to the dual pandemics of COVID-19 and racial injustice,” Davis said. “As the pandemic has dissipated, Imagine Worship has come to life as an in-person experience that continues to be recorded and released online. The Spirit of God has been at work as new partnerships have emerged to support this new work.”
Davis said Imagine Worship is committed to developing young leaders in ministry and bringing liturgy and technology together to reach new demographics. It is a new way to gather people to worship God in The Episcopal Church.
Innovations Task Force member Beth King said she is enthusiastic about the new focus for innovation grants.
“I believe humanity’s greatest mistake is limiting God to our own imaginations,” King said. “Just imagine, just once, if anything and everything were possible! How would you look at work within the church differently? Imagine the possibilities! This concept applies to all parts of our faith life and work.
“Now, imagine a God you’ve never imagined before. One who has no human-imposed limits. Imagine inviting that God into your planning and development process.
“The best part of all – when you imagine this larger expanded vision of God you expand your own personal relationship with God beyond what always was or could be,” King said. It’s a Win-Win all the way around. Go grab hold of that God and have some fun!”
To begin imagining a new thing for your Diocese of Atlanta worshiping community, ministry, or school, contact the Ministry Innovations Task Force.