What is the mission of Central Online?The mission of Central United Methodist Church is to be a congregation of Christians committed to making disciples of Jesus Christ through our hospitality, worship, nurture, and service.
Why Central Online?Created on Christmas Eve 2013, Central Online takes the essence of Central United Methodist Church (in lovely downtown Concord, North Carolina) and shares the Gospel with people who would otherwise never enter our physical facilities.
What was our inspiration?An inspiration for this proposal came from the Schramm Memorial Window in Central’s sanctuary narthex. The figure of Jesus Christ dominates the window of stained glass, sculptured lead, and gold leaf. The window represents Christ saying both “Come” and “Go.”
First, as people enter Central, Jesus holds out his hands in invitation, “Come unto me, all you that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you.” The yoke is at the bottom on the window. Up the sides in smaller scale are people in need coming to Jesus — hungry children, a mother, a crippled man, older people, and a young scholar. We welcome the world to come to Central!
Second, as people leave our worship, the same Christ also says to his followers, “Go you therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.” The symbol for evangelism is above Christ — an open Bible and the shell of Baptism. In the four corners of the window are boats in which Jesus’ first followers departed to take the Word into all parts of the world. Christ stands on the globe of the world for his kingdom extends to all creation. We also must go to the world to offer them Christ!
What is our history?Central began as a mission by a Circuit Rider to new people in the emerging village of Concord, North Carolina in 1836. We have been on our current property for 152 years! We are not moving from downtown Concord.
Central also has a tradition of expansion and started many new congregations. For the past decade, Central has been a strong congregation with vital members and growing ministry.
To reach new people and expand our ministries, we need more space or new space or virtual space.
Who are we trying to reach?You! There are two clear beneficiaries of Central Online: current members and new people. While the most popular ministries (worship, music, and Sunday School classes) of Central downtown are available only on Sunday mornings from 8:45am to 12:00 noon, Central Online will be open twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.
Who is funding Central Online?Central United Methodist Church downtown, the Western North Carolina Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church, the Royce and Jane Reynolds Fund of the United Methodist Foundation, the Metro District of our Conference, and friends of this endeavor.
Is Holy Communion available?Not yet. But we hope soon. We have begun study and dialogue about this topic. Please take the survey on the Central Online homepage.
What is unique about Central United Methodist Church?Central is a traditional, orthodox, inclusive, mainline, and missional congregation. We celebrate traditional worship. Honor great music. Preach from Scripture. Observe the Christian Year. Are faithful to orthodox theology. Welcome ALL people. Love our United Methodist and Wesleyan heritage. Serve our neighbors near and far.
What is different between the physical location and online congregation?Central Online maintains the same theology, hospitality, values, warmth, and core beliefs as our current congregation in downtown Concord. Yet, Central Online expands the means by which we can minister to other people and share the love of our God with those who may not feel comfortable or be able to worship in our sanctuary or participate at our physical location.
Key themes we honor?Central is a postmodern traditional congregation. We reflect our Wesleyan heritage of discipleship and express a generous orthodoxy of theology. Some of the key themes you will hear include:
Celebrate journeys, not the destination
Openness to all people
Theological integrity along with tolerance for theological diversity and inquiry
Diverse and inclusive leadership by many people
Less political yet thoroughly engaged in society
Acceptance of alternative family structures
Willingness to ask hard questions
Ability to give and serve quickly
Connected with local community
Engaged with historic spiritual practices
Can I join the Central Online congregation?Yes. You may be a full member of this congregation. Watch soon for a short online course to allow you to join.
Must I be a member of Central Online to participate?Absolutely not. You may participate in worship and every other activity. We are an open congregation.
What is the ultimate goal of Central Online?Within four years, we will have established fully a self-funding holistic campus that engages the minds, hearts, and hands of new and diverse people. We want to share the Good News of Jesus Christ with everyone!