New Wine Collective: Executive Summary/Case Statement
Christianity is Changing
Our religious landscape is in the midst of massive change. For the first time, participation in religious organizations in the United States has dropped below 50%, declining more than twenty percent in just the last twenty years! While the traditional Sunday, programmatic church model is still valuable for many, it is working for less and less of the population, especially among younger generations.
It seems the status quo of top-down, consumeristic Christianity has left many feeling disillusioned, bored, and burnt out, or simply, left out. A growing majority views church as unrelatable and unappealing, or even harmful and hypocritical. Many Christians themselves are struggling to reconcile their faith with the racism, patriarchy, exclusion, and abuses of power that seem endemic to much of Western Christianity.
Our world is hurting and broken. People are divided, disconnected, and lonely. Now, more than ever, we are in need of a bold and systematic rethinking of how we do church and spiritual community in our world today.
An Innovative Approach to Church
A church is not a building, brand, or organization, or even a weekly religious service. At its essence, a "church" is a community of people practicing love for God, love for one another, and love for neighbor. And if the practice of love is the goal, then we believe anyone can do church anywhere!
To be clear, we’re not starting a church. We’re creating a whole new way of being and doing church–a new model altogether that makes spiritual community more accessible to all.
We're seeking to develop an online platform that brings local people together for face-to-face mutual relationships, shared spiritual practices, and collaboration for the common good (love, healing, and justice work). Our platform would equip and empower people to do “church” wherever they are without all the complications and costly overhead of buildings and paid staff. Most importantly, people will be free to take ownership of their own spiritual journeys and create the kind of community they need on their own terms (who, what, when, where, and how). At the same time, they would have access to a diverse network that shares knowledge, resources, and expertise.
Once fully developed, our online platform/app would support a whole new approach to church by functioning in four ways:
1. A Group Facilitation Tool
- Provides structure and content for a wide variety of face-to-face group gatherings
- Promotes healthy group dynamics and self-regulation through features such as speaking queues, timers, and intelligent prompts
- Helps distribute power and responsibility by rotating leadership and roles, giving everyone the flexibility to grow and contribute to the group, and allowing every voice to be heard
- Creates an environment designed to cultivate empathy and compassion through mutual relationships and meaningful dialogue
- Our Group Facilitation App Prototype is currently in testing
2. A Library of Resources and Group Practices
- A constantly expanding library of resources and group practices crowdsourced from subject matter experts as well as everyday users; accessible anytime, anywhere
- Empowers individuals and groups to take ownership of their own spiritual journeys by self-curating their own content, free to draw widely from diverse traditions and perspectives
- Encourages active participation by allowing any user to create, curate, and customize content and group practices as well as recommend and share resources with others
- Like Youtube, Spotify, or Netflix
3. A Cooperative Economy for Ministry Services and Expertise
- A subscription-based revenue model to sustain the platform itself and support the work of content creators and facilitators
- An online marketplace (creator/gig economy) for clergy, counselors, coaches, and spiritual directors, etc.
- Creates an alternative business model for the Church that is more cost-effective, equitable, and sustainable for all
- Like Patreon, Mighty Networks, or Upwork
4. An Online Hub for Connection
- An online relational network without the manipulative algorithms, ads, and other compromises of large, profit-driven social media companies
- Allows groups to stay connected throughout the week via messaging, conversation threads, and shared spiritual practices (e.g. centering prayers, meditation, lectio divina, etc.)
- Users can make new local connections and self-organize into affinity-based communities through matching and social networking
- Like Facebook, Meet Up, or Discord
A New Future for the Church and Spiritual Communities Everywhere
Ultimately, we're proposing an alternative ecclesiology for the Church that makes better sense for an increasingly diverse and connected world. We're envisioning a fundamentally different approach to “church” that lowers barriers, flattens hierarchies, and embodies a fresh expression of Christian spirituality that is radically loving and inclusive, oriented towards equity and justice, and marked by theological humility.
- Our Spirituality: Based on the practice of love and relationship; embracing mystery and curiosity over certainty and judgment; able to hold together diverse cultures and traditions; simple, accessible, and holistic
- Our Structure: A decentralized network of self-organized spiritual communities with loving relationships at the center and leadership that is flexible and shared; emphasizing small, agile, and local
- Our Strategy: An online platform that empowers people to co-create their own face-to-face spiritual community wherever they are; connecting the whole Body of Christ in ways never before possible by leveraging technology to revolutionize the way we gather
Eugene Kim - Founder
Eugene is an ordained minister with a B.A. in Biblical Studies and Master of Divinity degree. After over 25 years in church ministry, he discerned it was time to step outside the familiar in order to reimagine church and spirituality from the ground up. His role in New Wine Collective is chief architect and synthesizer of ideas, as well as convener of conversations. He is a systems thinker and connector of dots, but still a pastor at heart and passionate about designing a new way of doing church that gives everyone a place to belong.
Mike Chen - Chief Technical Officer
Mike is a software engineer who grew up in the Boston area and has worked at a broad range of companies from startups to larger companies like Airbnb and Google. Mike grew up as a Christian but has spent the last several years revisiting the spiritual questions he’s had his whole life, trying to separate the helpful from the unhelpful elements of religion. He’s now interested in exploring the intersection between technology, community, and faith.
Sarah Backe - Project Development Lead
Sarah is a psychologist who grew up in southern Virginia, pursued higher education in greater Boston, and now lives outside of Raleigh, NC. Along the way, she has been a part of many spiritual communities, both within and beyond traditional church walls. She understands church can be a true home for many people and a deeply problematic place for others. Through New Wine Collective, she hopes to help folks from all backgrounds draw closer to God and one another as they co-create spiritual community together.
In addition, New Wine Collective is guided by a Board of Directors (names provided upon request) and supported by a diverse community of advisors and team members.
Join the Conversation
New Wine Collective is building a collaborative community gathered around a bold purpose: to tackle systemic problems within Christianity and to find new solutions together. We aim to convene a thoughtful, creative, and practical conversation about the next iteration of Christianity that brings together many perspectives and disciplines (science, technology, business, art, theology, etc.). New Wine Collective is for people from all walks of life who want to see innovative thinking result in action and a better way forward for all. If you would like to join the conversation, please email us at email@example.com.
Become a Financial Partner
You can take part in the creation of a new approach to church that can help heal the world and radically change the spiritual and social landscape. New Wine Collective, Inc. is a 501c3 non-profit organization relying on the generosity of donors to support our mission during our initial three-year start-up phase. We are currently seeking funding to develop the first full-featured version of our online platform. To learn about giving to New Wine Collective, please click here.
Spring 2020 – New Wine Collective founded
Fall 2020 – Ideation, fundraising, and launch
Spring 2021 – Proof of concept, Group App Prototype development
Fall 2021 – Formulate alternative ecclesiology; Group App Prototype testing
Spring 2022 – Convene cohorts, conversations, and communities of practice
Fall 2022 – Launch Pre-Beta Groups; fundraise for Version 1.0 (MVP)
Spring 2023 – Version 1.0 design and development
Fall 2023 – Launch Beta Version 1.0
Our Name & Logo
Jesus said people do not pour new wine into old wineskins… they pour new wine into new wineskins. (Matt. 9:17)
New Wine represents the radically new spirituality Christ embodied that transcended and challenged the religious structures of his day. New wine requires new wineskins–new forms and practices that serve as containers for a new way of relating to God, to one another, and to the world.
A Collective is a group of people working toward a common goal or purpose that does not rely on internal established hierarchies. In a collective, leadership is flexible, shared, and collaborative.
Our logo represents our positioning as a movement occupying liminal, “in between” spaces, on the threshold between the now and the not yet. We are situated as a bridge between spheres—on the inside edge of religion and spirituality, yet accessible and compatible with broader culture. We dwell in the margins of both, where we find common ground and new possibilities of change.
Overlapping circles resembling a Venn diagram represent inclusion and connection. A secondary symbol is viewed from above as a wine glass without walls, signifying openness and freedom from constraints and unnecessary structures.
Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org