A friend of mine drew my attention to a recent article in Charisma Magazine, called "It Takes a Brave Guy to Plant a Church in Utah". This newsletter by J. Lee Grady focuses on Matt Roberts, a charismatic minister in his thirties who planted an evangelical congregation called The Genesis Project in Ogden, Utah. (Here is their statement of faith.) His congregation is apparently doing rather well, quantitatively speaking: they have about 950 people with several weekly meetings. According to Grady's article, about 75% of the congregation has some sort of LDS background. Here, however, are the paragraphs in the article that struck me:
"Mormon churches are not retaining their youth," Matt adds. "So there's a whole generation of kids [in Utah] who have been crushed by works-based religion."
Matt's outreach strategy, however, has not been anti-Mormon by any means. He's quick to acknowledge that young people from Christian churches have also been wounded by religion. So he just preaches Jesus, without attacking Mormon doctrines.....
"We don't argue with Mormons," Matt explains. "Some Christians have been really hateful toward them. One hundred percent of our members have relatives in the LDS Church [Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints]. We believe differently than they do, but we are here to serve them."
Grady goes on to say that, rather than draw the salary that many pastors of large congregations do, Matt Roberts prefers to have the bulk of the church's budget is devoted to various forms of outreach. His hope is "to scoop up all the young people in Ogden who have been hurt by drugs, rejection, promiscuity or religion and offer them a countercultural Jesus who cares".
Thoughts on Roberts' ministry and The Genesis Project?