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Chris Yaw Interviews Dean Snyder: Reaching the De-Churched

December 17, 2012

Taken with permission from

It's not that they've never been churched, it's that they've been de-churched - saysFoundry United Methodist pastor Dean Snyder - which calls for ministering in a whole new way.

Pastor Snyder's helped design a whole new worship service, with different time and liturgy, in hopes of capturing the attentions of Washington, D.C.'s young urbanites.

In this interview Dean talks about what's bringing renewal to Bill and Hillary Clinton's former church: reaching the de-churched - and emphasizing help to the homeless.


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Downtown D.C. is a great place to visit - but fewer people are living there, which presents a challenge Pastor Snyder is addressing. Here are my notes from the interview:

Two Questions
When Dean Snyder took over as pastor of this historic congregation he asked the large membership (650 on a Sunday morning) 1) What do you like about your church, and 2) what would you change? Paying attention to children and letting people know what Foundry does were the answers - and his emphasis on answering these has paid off.

Touch People Where They Are
One thing that's led to Foundry's growth has been an emphasis on transformation - altar calls and laying on of hands in the main service are not uncommon occurrences.

Reaching the De-Churched
Founding a worship service for those on the fringes, gays and lesbians and others who are leery about joining a faith community, has paid off - though the challenge of stewardship (getting attendees to pay for it) remains a challenge.

About Dean Snyder
Dean Snyder is the Senior Pastor of Foundry United Methodist Church in Washington, D.C. He is a preacher, writer, and activist who coordinates a talented ministerial and lay staff. Prior to being appointed to Foundry, Snyder served the Baltimore-Washington Annual Conference as a communications director, editor, and specialist in congregational development and new church starts. He also served congregations in Philadelphia, as a campus minister and as a college instructor. A graduate of Boston University School of Theology and Albright College, Snyder's articles have appeared in dozens of publications.

Books Dean Recommends
When Moses Meets Aaron - Gil Rendel and Susan Beaumont
Inside the Large Congregation - Susan Beaumont
Leadership without Easy Answers - Ron Heifetz
The 5 Dysfunctions of a Team - Patrick Lencioni


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