Seeking a tribe, megachurch weighs its Anabaptist optionsBy Kelli Yoder Mennonite World Review
A 2,500-member Minnesota church led by prominent Christian writer and speaker Greg Boyd is discerning where it fits among the Anabaptists.
They’ve narrowed possibile affiliations to Mennonite Church USA and the Brethren in Christ.
Boyd co-founded Woodland Hills Church in 1992 and serves as its senior pastor. It began a yearlong commitment to exploring Anabaptism in May.
“We’ve really been kind of growing in this direction since the church started, without knowing what Anabaptism was,” said Boyd, author of The Myth of a Christian Nation: How the Quest for Political Power Is Destroying the Church.
During the exploration, leadership asked the congregation to read Stuart Murray’s Naked Anabaptist. They’ve also held town-hall-style meetings for the entire church, a sermon series on theological influences to their identity, weekly conversations within church leadership and discussions with Anabaptist groups.
The pastoral team — made up of Boyd, executive pastor Janice Rohling and teaching pastor Paul Eddy — has been talking with leaders of both denominations. A final decision will be made when they’ve run out of questions.
On the radar
Boyd’s name began to enter the national conversation partly because of a 2006 front-page New York Times story, “Disowning Conservative Politics, Evangelical Pastor Rattles Flock.”
“The clearer I got on the kingdom of God … the more problems I had with American evangelicalism,” Boyd says now, referring in part to pressure he felt for the church to represent certain political views. He refused, instead preaching a series of sermons declaring the church should stay out of politics and stop glorifying U.S. military action. (About one-fifth of the congregation left Woodland Hills as a result.)
“That got me on the radar screen of Mennonites, and they started inviting me to come and speak to them,” Boyd said.
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