Civitas Press is pleased to announce a new community project called, Finding Church. This community project will be a collection of stories that explore people’s experiences with leaving, changing, finding, and transforming church.
The church is currently experiencing seismic shifts in how people think of church and get involved with church. On the one hand, the number of mega churches in existence continues to increase every year. People are returning to church who have not attended in years, and more often than not, when they return to church, it is to a mega church where they get the best sermons, the best music, and the best programming. In a culture where excellence is required, mega churches are often seeing substantial increases in size and influence.
But at the same time, millions of people “leave church” every year. This is not because they are abandoning God, ignoring Scripture, or giving up on Jesus. While a few do leave for such reasons, the vast majority report that they leave church to better follow Jesus, obey God, and live out their faith in meaningful and relational ways. They stop attending church to pursue something more intimate and personal.
Behind each and every person who has returned to church or stopped attending church, there is a story filled with doubt, fear, and judgment, as well as faith, freedom, and redemption. And though millions of people have similar stories, many feel alone on their journey back to or away from church. It also does not help that those people who are returning to church often condemn and criticize those who are leaving, and those who are leaving sometimes judge and denounce those who return.
It is for these reasons that your story needs to be told. Telling your story will inspire others to take a step of faith in following your example, and will help those who disapprove to hear what led to understand the decision you made and why you made it.
We are looking for real, honest stories of people wrestling with this issue. We encourage you to let it all out on the page, and share in detail both the external circumstances and the internal conflicts that arise because of it. When at all possible show – don’t tell. Give us the gritty details, the emotions, the conflict, how you felt, how you responded (good and bad), and what you learned, if applicable to your story. Although we rarely censor graphic content or language if it serves the story, we ask that you use discretion. Please make sure that in telling your story, you do not condemn those who are finding church on a different path. We are NOT looking for self-help essays on solutions, professional opinions, theological argumentation, or personal agendas.
Jeremy Myers will be leading the project. Jeremy says, “In the past seven years I transitioned from being a senior pastor of a church to not even attending church. Some assume this is because I lost my faith, abandoned God, or gave up on church. Nothing could be further from the truth. Yet in trying to explain what happened, I found that the best approach was simply to tell my story. My hope is that through this project, we can all grow in understanding, unity, and love for one another as we each tell our stories of transition and listen to the stories of others.”
Jonathan Brink, publisher at Civitas Press, had this to say about the project. “The moment I saw the project it instantly attracted me. People are not leaving God but they are leaving the church. And a community project that explores why seemed a great fit for Civitas. It was easy to jump on board. Jeremy also had over 18 people who wanted to write for the project. This one will move fast.”
Submission Deadline: April 30th, 2012
Estimated Publishing Date: November 2012
For project submission information, authors can go here.