Community Yoga - Karma and Community

 

When thinking of what we can do differently to reach our communities, very few people would consider offering a program at a building that isn’t connected with the church at all as an option. West Church, Lake Norman, Mooresville, NC, however, did just that when they launched Community Yoga. This all began when they were brainstorming for their “Fun Friday'' activities. They wanted to offer a different activity every Friday during the summer to get the community involved. Originally yoga was just one of the many activities they offered, but it was so well attended that they decided to make it a regular thing. They went from offering it monthly to now offering it weekly due to the turnout. West Church decided to make Community Yoga a Fresh Expression after Dawn Lynch attended a fresh expressions training.
 
The church started out by being intentional with what they wanted this to look like and who was involved. Instead of having mostly church members attend, they asked church members not to participate. They did not want the unchurched attendees to be inundated with church people. This may sound like an odd way for a church to do ministry but having too much involvement from the anchor church can often lead to a Fresh Expression or community outreach to turn into just another place church members will go to hang out. West never offered Yoga at the church, because they wanted to be intentional about providing a space where unchurched people would feel comfortable. They started out meeting in the back of a bar, but after scheduling conflicts they decided they needed to find a more solid location. There was a yoga studio that a church member was an instructor at, so they asked the owner if they could rent the space.
 
Since the yoga community is so based on karma, they have been able to find instructors who will teach the class for free; and they got a great deal with the studio and only pay $25 a week to rent the space. This helped the church’s partnership with the community strengthen. It also helped the yoga studio have more business, as the community members who were new to yoga started wanting to do it more and joined on at the studio. After each yoga session they have a social time. Initially this was going to a restaurant to grab dinner, but they quickly saw that most people would just go home instead of driving somewhere else. Now they offer very light refreshments, like grapes and something to drink.
 
The community really began to grow during this social hour as people started to open up during that time. The few church members present have been able to form relationships and be the church outside of its usual four walls. From the beginning West Church wanted to make sure those who came to yoga knew there weren't any expectations regarding coming to church; but they also never hid the fact that this was sponsored by the church. Every week West is thanked at the yoga session, and those who attend know if they want to learn more all they need to do is ask. The next goal the vision team has for this Fresh Expression is to offer a moment of prayer after Yoga and before the social time. They want this to be a time the community members can share what they’d like prayer for, but also know that if they aren’t ready there is no pressure. 
 
If you can find a yoga studio and teacher that would be willing to offer you a deal, a project like this would be great for a church that wants to make a difference in their community but don’t have a large budget to do so. The regulars who come each week took it upon themselves to sign up for bringing snacks. 
 
 

Resources for Vital Congregations

 

CHURCH LEADERSHIP

Lewis Center for Church Leadership

Lewis Center for Church Leadership: Books

Lewis Center for Church Leadership: Serve Your Neighbor

GBHEM Leadership Resources

eLEAD

Living Faithfully: Human Sexuality and the United Methodist Church

Englewood Book Review

Five Practices of Fruitful Congregations

Ted Talks: The Golden Circle

Ted Talks: The Power of Vulnerability

Ted Talks: The Price of Invulnerability

Design Thinking

Meditations on the Ministry of All Christians

DISCIPLE FORMATION:

Be A Disciple

A Disciple’s Path; A Guide for United Methodist

Lewis Center for Church Leadership: Adult Christian Studies from the Wesley Ministry Network

Traveling Together: A Guide for Disciple Forming Congregations

WESLEYAN STUDIES:

Living As United Methodist Christians

Methodist Doctrine: The Essentials

Reclaiming our Wesleyan Tradition: John Wesley’s Sermons for Today

John Wesley Sermons: Anthology

REACHING PEOPLE:

Get Their Name

Evangelism & Theology in the Wesleyan Spirit

Canoeing the Mountains

Fresh Expressions

Fresh Expressions: Dinner Church

Lewis Center for Church Leadership: Reach New Disciples

Lewis Center for Church Leadership: 50 Ways to Reach People

Community: The Structure of Belonging

RESOURCES TO CONNECT WITH THE COMMUNITY:

Institute for Emerging Issues

Congregations 4 Children

GRANTS:

The Royce and Jane Reynolds Ministry Fund Grants

The Duke Endowment

OTHER:

The Appalachian District Church Vitality Team has been prayerfully seeking ways to help support you and the ministries of your local congregation during this COVID-19 pandemic. Together they have diligently researched and connected with others throughout the conference and our denomination to identify resources and offer them to you. We hope they will be helpful to you and bless you greatly in leading your churches and communities through this unprecedented time. We are very grateful to the District Vitality Team and other contributors for their great work on this resource.
 
This faithful team has created three documents, two of which you are receiving today. They include:

  • Family Home Worship – designed to help families establish a regular worship space within their homes as well as a time where they can worship together.
  • Tech Strategies – to help guide you in selecting effective tools and resources within your budget to best communicate in the digital world.

 
We believe these resources will be of great benefit to you. Also know that the District Vitality Team is available to answer any questions you might have in regards to the documents attached. If you have questions, you may email Rev. Howard Fleming at hfleming@wnccumc.net.
 

 

  • Resources
Follow Jesus. Make Disciples. Transform the World.