People at movie theater.
Innovation Stories

Rebirth in Partnership

Churches working together in new ways
by Faith+Lead | August 26, 2021

By Rosario Picardo


Pivot, iterate, adjust, nuance, and reinvent have been the mantra of churches, staff, and leaders over the past 18 months. You have tried your best to care for people through online efforts, outdoor services, intentional acts of kindness, care packages, phone calls, and letters. It has been a tireless effort for leaders who are also finding themselves trying to lead through COVID-19, racial tensions, and social injustices—along with political strife in a culture not willing to have civil dialogue. 

I have witnessed many of my colleagues—overridden by stress, anxiety, and the pressure to hold their congregations together—unfortunately succumb to the pressure of quitting altogether. Maybe you can relate to these pressures. You have tried to come back to hold in-person worship only to have a smaller percentage of folks attend. While financial giving might have sustained the mission, you are wondering when the giving will lag because, on the surface, it looks like the support has been waning from week to week.

I am fortunate to have a great support network with my wife and children—who are on mission with me—and a network of friends, mentors, and a spiritual director in my corner. I have also been supported by my Seeds Cohort, a group who is experiencing much of the same struggles but are not giving up. They are trying to figure out a new normal and are leading through adversity.  

The Story of Mosaic Church Plant

The church plant I serve has been used to being on the move. We have worshipped three different stints in movie theaters, numerous one-offs for special occasions, did six months with drive-in parking lot specials, and landed in a mall’s lobby before embarking on a year-long endeavor in an abandoned department store in a retail shop. Recently, we received the news that we would have to move once again. At first, we were in shock; why would a department store become an office complex in this day and age? However, we rolled with the punches and saw God’s hand at work.

We raised close to $100,000 for move-in expenses in the retail spaces, but we’re fortunate enough that another congregation had hope and a dream to grow beyond their existence. The folks of St. Andrew United Methodist Church decided to sacrifice and vote to be adopted by our congregation, Mosaic Church, to dream a bigger dream than any one congregation could realize at the time. The people of St. Andrew’s were courageous to enter into this adoption. They raised finances to renovate their sanctuary space, gathering area, and children’s space to be more welcoming and hospitable to others.

Over the past year, both congregations have grown together through zoom meetings, small in-person groups, outdoor worship celebrations, and concerts to dream dreams larger than any one congregation. Together we will launch Mosaic Church in the fall in one location and offer different worship styles such as a recovery service known as Fighting Chance Recovery, traditional worship, modern worship, and acoustic worship. Throughout the week, there will be five different worship experiences happening out of one location, all for the glory of God!

Rebirth

Reflecting on all of this, I can’t help but think that the next Christendom will include working together in collaboration across denominational and theological lines so that churches can leverage resources, sacrifice sacred cows, and be willing to come together for the greater good. The changing landscape in our culture does not mean death but can mean rebirth with longevity and a renewed mission and purpose.

There are many questions we have to ask ourselves as churches, staff, and pastors:

  • Are we willing to listen to each other to work together for a new vision?
  • What are we willing to give up on both sides to work together?
  • Ultimately, can we serve God better together than we can apart?

There are many other factors to consider, but God can be glorified if all can work in humility, more people can be reached, and a greater witness can be made.

Your Turn

Right now, in your present circumstance, is God asking you to reach out to that church or pastor in your community that you may need to align with through a partnership?

  • If the church you have in mind is smaller, how can you build intentional relationships where folks are inspired to dream bigger dreams?
  • If the church you have in mind is more prominent, how can mutuality happen, where sacrifice is a given, but love and greater mission become the predominant factor?

These are the questions Mosaic Church and St. Andrew United Methodist Church asked themselves before God brought us together.

Learn more about the innovative ministries of members of the most recent Seeds Cohort here

About the Author
Rosario Picardo grew up in western New York as a first-generation Sicilian-American. In 2003, he earned his Bachelor of Arts in Religion from Houghton College and in 2007 a Master of Divinity from Asbury Theological Seminary. He graduated with a Doctor of Ministry from United Theological Seminary in 2014. And most recently graduated with a Master’s of Business Administration from Dakota Wesleyan University in 2021.

During his senior year of college, Roz entered the ministry as a military chaplain, serving four years in the Marine Reserves and five years in the Navy Reserves. While attending seminary, he recognized a call to serve the local church and has experience in all facets of church life, through roles ranging from church custodian to associate pastor to church planter and executive pastor of church planting at Ginghamsburg Church for five where they had three campuses and worshipped over 4,000. Also, Roz was one of the founding pastors at Mosaic, a new multicultural church in Dayton, Ohio (www.wearemosaic.org). Roz was part of the first Seeds fellowship cohort (and you could be too).

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