Episcopal priest Jimmy Bartz, and the ‘experimental community’ called Thad’s has found new growth by intentionally focusing on connecting people to the Story and to each other.
Thad’s calls itself a community of Monday through Saturday believers who strive to live out God’s story of faithfulness in one another. Hear how this emphasis on connection is working.
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Longer sermons and talk-back opportunities are just one expression of the relational emphasis Jimmy Bartz’ Thad’s community exhibits. Bartz is convinced of the critical nature of the take-away – and that providing learning experiences as well as deep connections are what will feed his flock, which has increased from a handful to 250 people and is growing in number each Sunday. Here are my notes from the interview:
It’s no longer about attendance numbers and budget balances – Jimmy says what he, and the congregation, pay attention to is how their community makes better husbands, wives, citizens and friends.
Context Breeds Narrative
Unique to Los Angeles is the dominance of its entertainment business, which, Bartz says, pushes him to a narrative style of preaching and thinking – which is obviously resonating.
Evangelism Strategy: Attraction vs. Promotion
Thad’s resonates with the 12-step style of addiction groups that attracts others by being what they are (recovering _____ ) not by putting up posters and buying TV commercials. Attraction vs. Promotion.
About Jimmy Bartz
Married to Cindy and father to Jas (10) and Jade (5), Jimmy has been involved in full time ministry since graduating from the University of Texas in 1993. Youth ministry positions in two different churches led Jimmy and Cindy to Virginia where Jimmy attended seminary, and Cindy worked as an inner-city social worker. Upon graduation and ordination in the Episcopal Church, he went back to Austin as a campus minister for three years. A call to serve All Saints’ Parish in Beverly Hills, CA came in 2001, and the Bartzes have called Los Angeles home for the last nine years.
Thad’s has been a dream of Bartz’s and his colleagues for more than a decade. Now in its fifth year Thad’s is a large, experimental, creative, emerging, Episcopal spiritual community that mixes excellent original music with thoughtful teaching, community dialogue, practical application of retranslated spiritual disciplines from the Anglican tradition in order to attract and enrich the lives of people with the love of Jesus who would never darken the doors of one of our traditional parishes. The community is already outgrowing its third building in five years.