Imagine the Church is a Lobster

Associate Director of Influencing Ministries Dwayne Stinson recently attended with other Virginia Conference participants a "Hatchathon" sponsored by the Western North Carolina Conference. A Hatchathon is a two-day retreat where ministry innovators come to incubate new ideas. The Rev. Mark DeVries and the Rev. Dr. Kenda Creasy Dean of Ministry Incubators led the event. Stinson wrote a blog about the experience; an excerpt is below.

"As lobsters grow, they must periodically shed their current shell to accommodate their larger bodies. The lobster has all the resources it needs to form the new shell. It starts by withdrawing nutrients from the old shell, and slowly grows bloated with water that separates the lobster’s body from its shell, and which eventually cracks the shell. Then the lobster must slowly withdraw its eyes, claws, and legs from the old shell, and squeeze its body backwards out through the opening. It finally pushes itself out of the last bit of shell with its tail. The lobster is most vulnerable at this point. Even as it pumps nutrients through its body, it takes several days for the new shell to harden, but once it does, the lobster has room to grow again.
"Imagine the lobster as a metaphor for the church, trapped in a shell (you pick what that shell represents!), unable to grow, perhaps bloated because it’s pulling all its resources inward. It is not until the church takes the vulnerable step to leave that shell, to risk exposure to the outside environment without the protection of bricks and stained glass, that it is able to grow again."

Learn more from Dwayne Stinson's blog about Christian innovation...

Stinson's event takeaways


The church must innovate.


Christian innovation begins not with "why" but with "who" is God calling us to love right now?


You don't have to look for ministry. God will give you ministry. You just have to look around.
Bright Spots_Wordmark_Black

Share your "Bright Spots"

Have you ever noticed that when you focus on the negative, all you can see are more negative things around you?
But when you focus on the positive things in your life, it makes you more aware and open to other 'bright spots' in your life.

We challenge every clergyperson, every lay leader, every mission chair, every church to look around this month and to submit a good news story to the conference Communications Office to share.
From personal stories of connection, to ministry events to community outreach, we want to hear from you!

How many of these ministries and stories of connection could lift and inspire other United Methodists around our conference and connection?
Email us at [email protected].

Hope is in Vienna

Hope UMC is one of two new church plants announced at the 2022 Virginia Annual Conference. The vision for the church according to the Rev. Sammy Addo-Donkoh is to be a multicultural and multigenerational church in the Vienna community.
Learn more...

A story of global connection

The relationship between Blacksburg UMC and Spring of Life UMC and Kyiv UMC Center in Ukraine started in 1998. Over the decades, a pastor and 18 lay members from Blacksburg have visited Kyiv and a pastor, eight lay members, three missionaries, a bishop, and a district superintendent have visited Blacksburg from Kyiv.

Through distance, COVID-19, and now the war on Ukraine, these churches have maintained a long-term partnership by being in mission together.
Learn more...

Read more about other VAUMC partnerships in Ukraine and Russia...
"That's Our Church" is a monthly email sent out across the Virginia Conference to share good news and mission from The United Methodist Church.
facebook twitter website pinterest