Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect.
What we started as an experiment in worship in 2016 has grown into an experience that has challenged adults, youth, and communities of faith and non-faith across denotational, racial, sexual, and identity based boundaries.
We continue to celebrate the Lord's Supper and worship with the community at Transitions Homeless Shelter in Columbia, SC on a weekly basis and regularly have an attendance of around 50 individuals. We have partnered with organizations and businesses such as Panera for donations as well as area churches such as St. Andrews Baptist Church, Emmanuel Baptist Fellowship, and New Hope Christian Fellowship.
Additionally, we have an ongoing relationship with the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of North Carolina and partner churches in the Western North Carolina region such as First Baptist Church of Asheville and Mars Hill Baptist Church that allow us to perform joint services for both church and homeless communities in those areas. One of our main goals for 2017 and 2018 is to continue to expand our connections in North Carolina to allow for ministers and lay people to experience community worship in a different manner than traditional Sunday morning worship so that our experiences of the everyday divine may be transformed by a renewing of our minds (and spirits).
Merianna and Sam have completed the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship Innovative Discernment Process starting in August of 2016 and concluding in December 2016 with a core group of coaches. That process has led to the realization that ministrieslab is meant to be a resource for existing communities of faith meant to challenge and expand what is considered as worship.
By inviting churches to experience worship at existing ministries such as Transitions as well as aiding in food drives, donation campaigns, fundraising, and community events, we hope to bring the experimental and newness of life and divine breath to churches that may feel as if they've become too stale for growth in a dynamic world.
As a part of these realizations, 2017 will see the establishment of ministrieslab as a 501c3 foundation with an advisory board and leadership team to oversee operations and to sustain the momentum that's been created.
Additionally, ministrieslab will be producing a set of curriculums and worship templates around various areas including topics on sexuality discussions, identity based issues, homelessness, charity work, privilege, and academic Bible studies in 2017.
These initiatives will aid us in our goal to promote an understanding of christian practices and teachings that lead to a greater concern for our world, our ecosystems, and our communities.
Let us help each other realize the Kingdom of God among us-
Rev. Merianna Neely Harrelson
Rev. Sam Harrelson