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Life and Religion

Proponent of non-traditional faith settings at The Movement Church
Pastor Carmen Means leads new congregation
Published Saturday, January 20, 2018 7:15 pm
by Ashley Mahoney

God is concerned about people on more than just Sunday.

Pastor Carmen Means teaches the message of “faith in a non-traditional setting,” where the goal is for it to serve as a connector, rather than a cure.
In 2012, she founded The Movement church in Minneapolis, Minnesota and planted a second location in Charlotte last year. She moved here with her sons Silas, 17, and Simar, 10, last August.  

“I was pastoring the most progressive ministry in Minneapolis, and I can credit that to my strong connection with millennials,” Means said. “Before I was a senior pastor, I was a youth/teen pastor for about 12 years.”

The Charlotte location calls Red @ 28 University City (9539 Pinnacle Drive Suite 203) home, with services at 10 a.m. Her goals for a “progressive ministry” translated from Minnesota to North Carolina.

“Pastoring let me see that it was not because of our fundamental beliefs, but because we did not allow our beliefs to transcend what we thought,” Means said. “It was like this fear of the black church that any type of change would go against what we fundamentally believe, and that is so not true. It was change that we needed to keep rebirthing what we believed. The concept of being holistic, you cannot preach to anyone, especially in 2018, a God that is only concerned about them on Sunday. Especially being a black woman and raising black kids, there has to be a connection between that God and the God of Jamar Clark—a young man who was assassinated back home. When that circle is drawn in completion, it makes sense. It’s not just about spirituality. It’s really about a personal relationship with God, and that’s where I believe the black church misses it.”

A Chicago native, Means has always loved North Carolina, and even considered attending Johnson C. Smith University earlier in life. She is pursuing a degree in psychology with a minor in Bible from Crown College in Minnesota.

“I was a huge Hornets fan,” Means said. “That was my personal connection. However, during my senior pastoring in Minneapolis, I went through a horrible divorce. I was actually doing a pastor training here [at Reformed Church in America] for urban pastors.”

Her time in Charlotte sparked an “a-ha moment.”

“We knew from the beginning that The Movement would have multiple locations,” Means said. “However, we did not know where. We definitely did not know when. When I was in Charlotte for that training, it was an a-ha moment that this was a prime place to do ministry. I went home, discussed it with some of my leadership, and we decided to plant a church here.”

Means did not envision herself as a pastor growing up, let alone a church founder.

“I grew up in church,” she said. “Church is not new to me. I know the church culture very well. I never wanted to pastor, though. That was not a desire of mine at all. It was more of a feeling of being called to do it. This is where I find my peace. I won’t run from peace. Where my peace lies is where I try to stay connected to.”

Means’ calling has led her to seek change through ministry.

“Working with young people for so long, there was a disconnect between Jesus and millennials,” Means said. “I knew that it wasn’t, because what we were doing was irrelevant.  I believe that the black church in particular has made it irrelevant. A lot of the ways we would try to reach people were very antiquated. One of the pleasures of pastoring millennials is that they’re like the most honest group that you will probably ever have. The myth that they’re this wild bunch, that is true, but there is a method to the madness in a sense. If there is a message that’s irrelevant or there is a message that will not include the whole person, it really does not speak to anyone.”

As the Charlotte church takes off, Means has her eyes open for their third location, but that won’t happen in the near future.

“I’ve got an itch for Philly,” Means said. “I love the East Coast, but that is definitely down the road. Planting a church is beyond stressful. Charlotte is becoming home to me.”


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