First case study published: House for All Sinners and Saints

Posted Oct 21, 2011 | New Media Project

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By Verity A. Jones


House for All Sinners and Saints in Denver, CO, Jason Byassee tells us, exhibits an interesting mix of audacious outreach ministry supported by cutting edge technology and a love for higher liturgies deeply rooted in Christology.

You can read Jason’s case study of the ELCA church and its dynamic pastor, Nadia Bolz-Weber, on this website. It is the first of six case studies we will publish. The others will follow in the next several weeks. Each case study provides a report and a feature article.

Jason gives us a richly painted and complex picture of House for All Sinners and Saints in his case study. This church plant of the ELCA is still a relatively small congregation, but the popularity of their pastor has brought them to the attention of church leaders trying to understand and reach out to the Millennial generation.

The New Media Project chose House for All Sinners and Saints as a case study on innovative use of new media because the church’s practices (and its fame) are deeply evident in and widely shared via their use of social media. And yet at the same time, the church is so heavily involved in the Millennial generation’s way of being in the world that they hardly think about their use of social media. It’s just what they do. It’s like the “wallpaper,” Jason reports.

This and the other five descriptive case studies conducted by the New Media Project will be key sources for our next phase of writing—theological reflection on the changing patterns and tools of communication today. Three of the additional case studies focus on congregations—Quest Church in Seattle; Darkwood Brew, a ministry of Countryside Community Church in Omaha; and Community of Hope AME Church in the Washington, D.C. area. One case study explores the Mobile Learning Initiative at Abilene Christian University in Texas. Another describes the unique ministry of The Young Clergy Women’s Project.

We share these stories and ponderings with you now, hoping you will join us in the ongoing conversation around how to help religious leaders become theologically savvy about technology.

P.S. The most recent e-newsletter for the New Media Project, dated October 19, 2011, is also available. You might want to sign up for this bi-weekly update in the right column of this page.

Verity A. Jones is the project director of the New Media Project, and a Research Fellow at Union Theological Seminary.

The New Media Project is a research project helping religious leaders become theologically savvy about technology. To request permission to repost this content, please contact newmediaproject@cts.edu.

2 Comments

  1. 1 Richard Humphries 31 Jan
    Pastors have tools that Lay people don't have, but that doesn't mean that Lay people are not resources that need to be a part of the Social Justice issues action.  In those first three hundred years of the Church "The Spirit of Christ" and his teachings were spread like wild fire across the Mediterranean and Middle East through Lay people using the "Oral Tradition" because there weren't any Pastors and the letters of Paul and Peter had limited distribution and impact.

    Lay people have experiences and skills that Pastors don't have when it comes to addressing issues related to the world we live in.  I and my Social Justice Committee have created a program to address those issues with Churches in a very unique way as far as the Church is concerned but makes sense to those of us who as lay people have lots of experience working with people eye ball to eye ball.

    Lots of Pastors understand this but many don't and have to be taught to use their talented and experienced people to promote Evangelism programs.  As a matter of fact, often Pastors create a wall between themselves and Churches because they don't have that worldly experience. 

    Richard Humphries 
  2. 2 @PaulSteinbrueck 31 Jan
    Jason, thanks for researching and writing this case study. I find it very thought-provoking. Because House of All Saints and Sinners is such an unusual faith community, it's use of social media is also unusual.

    As you wrote, the wrong thing for a church to do would be to copy House's use of social media. My take-away is that the way a church uses social media should flow out of its existing culture and the culture of its people.

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