Find your place at The Table, a new worship service beginning Oct. 12

Brentwood Table LogoWe invite you to find your place around the Table of Christ’s unconditional love, where we celebrate the community & equality at the heart of Jesus’ life & ministry that inspires us today. Sundays at 10 a.m. beginning Oct. 12th.

Why does Brentwood call itself a Bible Belt Alternative?
Newcomers will find that our congregation serves as a progressive, Bible Belt Alternative in the Springfield area. We are an open and affirming congregation that believes church should be a place where everyone is welcome, regardless of race, age, status, sexual orientation or gender. We take the Bible seriously but not always literally, believing that faith should value both the mind and the heart (you can learn more about our beliefs here and our vision here).

How do I know which worship service to visit?
If you are new to Brentwood and are wondering which of our three Sunday worship services you’d like to visit, you might wish to head on over to our worship page where you can find a description of each service. We have a traditional worship service at 9:00 a.m., a progressive worship service at 11:00 a.m. (each of which meet in the upstairs sanctuary), and, beginning Oct. 12, the Table at 10:00 a.m. (which will meet in our downstairs worship space — if you visit the Table, use the south doors adjacent to the parking lot in the back of the church building).

“Race, Religion and the Dream of a Beloved Community” — New series begins Sept. 3

michael-brown-ferguson-missouri-2014-billboard-650Well before the tragic events including and surrounding the shooting death of Michael Brown began to unfold, we had already planned to begin the next Academy for Faith & Life series on the topic of “Race, Religion and the Dream of a Beloved Community.” Now, of course, it seems all the more pertinent to do so. In this series, we will reflect on the continuing legacy of racism in America — what has often been referred to as “America’s original sin” — as well as the ways we might find solidarity and support in our shared struggle to overcome it. Not only will we gain a deeper understanding of what is meant by phrases such as “white privilege” and “systemic sin/racism,” we will pay attention to the ways in which religion has helped — as well as hindered — the dream of a beloved community built on the biblical dream of justice, righteousness and peace. Come prepared to do serious introspection and exploration. This will not be an easy conversation, but we believe it will be a faithful one.

Dates and Times
Wednesday evenings from 6:30-8:00 p.m. beginning Sept. 3 and concluding Oct. 22

Phil Snider & Camielle Famous

Race Matters by Cornel West
The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander
The Church Enslaved by Tony Campolo and Michael Battle
Killing Rage by bell hooks

– Registration fee is $25 (all proceeds go directly toward supporting the Greater Springfield Center for Diversity and Reconciliation)

- Please RSVP by emailing

- All are welcome to register, even if not a participant at Brentwood

About the Academy for Faith & Life
Academy for Faith and LifeThe Academy for Faith and Life at Brentwood Christian Church provides an opportunity for participants from both the congregation and the wider community to engage theological and ethical topics in an in-depth manner not usually found in conventional church study groups. The Academy for Faith and Life explores topics related to religion and culture that is similar to what might be found at the university (and at times even the seminary) level and at the same time provides tools for cultivating individual and societal transformation, all based on an approach to Christianity that values both the mind and the heart.

Two courses are generally offered each year (concurrent with fall and spring semesters) and meet on Wednesday evenings for 6-10 weeks. Each is taught by Rev. Snider unless otherwise announced. Participants are expected to read three to four books per course. All registration fees directly support the Center for Diversity and Reconciliation, an organization dedicated to promoting, advocating, and working toward economic dignity, race equity, social justice, and equal rights for all people in the greater Springfield area. A limited number of scholarships (based on financial need) are available.

Announcing the Table — a new worship service beginning October 12

cupandgrapes[1]We are excited to announce that at its August meeting, our board enthusiastically voted to move forward with the creation of The Table, a new worship service set to begin October 12th. This adds a third option to our already impressive repertoire of Sunday morning worship services, and we believe it will provide an important worship experience for people in the Springfield area. Here are several “questions and answers” that were discussed at our board meeting, which we think will help participants at Brentwood learn more about this exciting new development:

(1) What kind of worship service will the Table be?
The Table will provide a rich, thoughtful, contemporary worship experience centered around the table of Christ’s unconditional love. The Table will have a coffee house atmosphere that lends itself well to reflection, celebration, conversation, community and equality, where all are welcome. While it will be contemporary in style, it will also fit the very best of our congregation’s ethos, values, and vision.

(2) Why a third worship service?
We currently have two very good worship options: One for those who appreciate a classical, traditional style of worship (9:00); and one for those who appreciate a reflective, emerging, “ancient-future” style of worship (11:00). What we don’t offer is a contemporary style of worship, which many people in the Springfield area find quite appealing — indeed, contemporary worship is the most popular style of worship among the most vibrant churches in the area. A contemporary service allows us to connect with a wider demographic, which in turn helps people connect with our vision and values in a meaningful way. Beginning a new worship service also helps promote our congregation in the wider community, which helps serve as an entry point to our congregation’s many ministries, programs, and social justice initiatives.

(3) Who is the Table for?
While people currently involved in our congregation are of course welcome to participate, this service is designed to share good news in a meaningful way with people who are not currently connected to our congregation. In the same way that the Awakening allowed us to connect with many new people when we started it, so too will the Table.

(4) When and where will it be held?
10:00 a.m. on Sunday mornings in the Fellowship Hall (with the exception of third Sunday brunches, in which we will get to know one another around the brunch table and encourage newcomers to visit the 9:00 or 11:00 service on those days).

(5) What about Sunday Schools?
All of our Sunday Schools will continue meeting at the same time. As new people connect through the Table, then they can begin new small groups or Sunday School classes as needed. It’s also possible that newcomers might choose to begin attending the 9:00 or 11:00 service and go to a current Sunday School.

(6) When will the Table begin?
October 12, 2014

(7) What about kids?
As always, children are welcome in worship. We will set up a children’s prayer station area that will be multi-sensory, interactive and family friendly. We will also continue to hold children and youth Sunday School classes during the 10:00 hour. Children’s Worship & Wonder (for three-year-olds through second graders) will continue to be offered during the 9:00 and 11:00 services.

(8) How can I support the Table?
There are a number of ways you can help.
— Planting the seed: To help get the Table off the ground, we are in need of a couple of dozen people to covenant to attend the Table (along with their current worship service if they’d like) for three to six months (by then it should have enough people to sustain itself). If you’d like to do this, please let Emily or Phil know.
— Social Media: We would also appreciate you telling others about the Table, especially by sharing news about it on Facebook and social media.
— Donate KSMU Day Spots: If you are a KSMU sponsor, please consider donating your announcements to Brentwood, which we can use to promote the Table.
— Volunteer: Until we build a base of newcomers, we will need people to help greet, set up, brew coffee, etc., similarly to when we started the Awakening. Again, if you can help in this way, please let Emily or Phil know.

We are excited to be on this journey together and we look forward to the new directions that God is leading us toward! Thanks for your support!

Race & Faith Collaborative — 3rd Quarter Initiatives

1375Wondering how to talk to your children about racism? Or how to respond to racist comments and jokes? Then you might be interested in the work of the Greater Springfield Race & Faith Collaborative:

Over the last few months, those who’ve taken part in initiatives sponsored by the Greater Springfield Race and Faith Collaborative have had several opportunities to draw on resources in the online toolboxes designed to help participants reflect on the various ways that the continuing realities of race and racism affect us personally as well as in our relationships with family and friends.

Now, at the outset of the Third-Quarter initiatives sponsored by the Race & Faith Collaborative, we invite you to consider how we can enhance the relationships that we share with one another in our respective places of worship, business and community engagement. Together we can draw upon the best of our shared values as we work toward equality and dignity for all people in all aspects of life.

Here’s a very simple process for those who’d like to take the next step:

Instead of creating new materials to use as part of the Third-Quarter initiative, we would like to encourage participants to take the lead in one or more of the following action items within the context of their respective places of worship, business and community engagement. You can pick simple, moderate, or in-depth options (or a combination).

SIMPLE (requires little time and planning)

Option 1: Distribute the “Talking to Children about Racism” resources to parents and/or teachers of children and youth. These are ideal for religious education teams in local communities of faith as well as youth group leaders. Also consider posting them on your organization’s website and letting parents and teachers know where they can access them online.

Option 2: Distribute the “Talking to Friends & Family about Racism” and “Responding to Racist Comments & Jokes” resources on your organization’s website and let people know where to access them.

MODERATE (requires a moderate amount of time and planning)

Option 1: Host a viewing of Patrick Mureithi’s DVD “Conversation Starters for Family & Friends” with a small group at your place of worship or business. You might consider hosting a dinner party at your house where friends and/or colleagues can view the DVD together.

Option 2 (for religious leaders): Encourage all the small groups in your respective place of worship (i.e. Sunday school classes, Wednesday night groups, etc.) to devote one session (or, even better, an entire series) to the “25 Things Your Congregation Can Do To Affirm Diversity and Challenge Racism”.

Option 3 (for clergy): Develop and share at least one sermon, reflection or homily devoted to the importance of diversity and equality within your respective religious tradition. Consider leading a special series on the same topic by drawing on the resources available in the “Clergy Toolkit”.

IN-DEPTH (requires a significant amount of time and planning)

Working toward institutional change
• Visit this website to research how your organization can take positive steps toward the pursuit of dignity and equality for all people and begin asking the following questions:
1. Why should we talk about race in my organization?
2. Does race have anything to do with my organization’s purpose and values?
3. Why is it not enough to say, “I’m not prejudiced?”
4. Would my organization and the families we work with be better served if we became an anti-racist, multi-cultural organization? If so, how?
5. What does an anti-racist, multi-cultural organization look like?
• Consider partnering with a trained organization that can help lead your organization through the process of becoming a place that strives for the dignity and equality of all people. The leaders of the Race and Faith Collaborative are happy to provide recommendations of organizations/trained diversity leaders with whom your organization can partner.
• Understand that the work of becoming an organization that moves forward in its goals of striving for the dignity and equality of all people is difficult. It can be full of challenges and struggles. Yet it is also full of great rewards. For encouragment and inspiration, stay connected with other leaders and organizations that are dedicated to the same goals. Together we can do great things and we will be proud to look back together with a profound sense of gratitude for all that we accomplish in the name of dignity and equality.

The Square Root of God — A retreat with author and pastor, Tim Carson


square root“The Square Root of God”
Saturday, May 10
9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Registration: $20

We look forward to welcoming the Rev. Dr. Tim Carson to Brentwood Christian Church to lead a retreat based on his new book, The Square Root of God. His ground breaking exploration of faith and numbers provides a whole new way to understand the mystery of God and the universe – a helpful approach for the already spiritual who are looking for a new path to relevancy and the curious skeptic who is willing to entertain another way to approach the most basic question of life: What’s at the heart of it all? Those drawn to both religion and science will very much appreciate Tim’s new vision of the interplay between ancient wisdom and contemporary thought, all of which draws people toward a new search for an enlivened faith that makes sense in the modern world. Tim’s book is available at

tim carsonDr. Timothy Carson is a pastor and writer who lives in Columbia, Missouri where he currently serves as senior minister of Broadway Christian Church. The author of four previous books, Tim builds bridges of understanding between historic forms of faith and contemporary thought.

To register, please contact Brieta Self in the Brentwood office ( or 417-881-0144).