I have listened to the stories of hundreds of fresh expressions of church. Some things stand out –
1. Keep it simple. Sustainable and reproducing churches are simple.
2. Churches that are growing are local churches that are planting other churches.
3. Churches of 20 attendees usually have 15 highly involved people/leaders (and the rest, spectators) – and, churches of 100 have 15 highly involved people (and the rest, spectators); and, churches of 250 … or 350 …
4. Structure and form does matter – for we see God in the way the church acts. If the church is the body of Jesus – it should act that way!
5. Pastors could be released from ‘hovering over’ a local church – to network and coach multiple church plant, releasing members for their ministry; but, it’s scary for the pastor is no longer ‘in control’!
In this short NEWS there are ‘good news’ stories – and some ‘crazy’ and creative ideas that work. There are ministry ideas that will inspire, that can be adapted for your planting project.
Be faithful & courageous,
CHURCH PLANTING NEWS – 29 July 2010 (more resources and links at www.newchurchlife.com)
‘The Shack’ on Tassie’s East Coast: Julie and Rod Baum were involved in church planting in Western Australia – but in February this year moved to St Helens on Tasmania’s east coast. They live in a bus/coach two minutes walk from the beach. Rod hangs out at the skate bowl from time to time and surfs – and they have used their interest in healthy living to build relationships in the community. They have painted up an old house – which they call ‘the shack’, as a base for community socials, beach bonfires, board games, yard makeovers, etc. ‘At times its like being a missionary in a foreign land,’ Julie says.
Mosaic Cafe @ supports charities! The idea is to have breakfast with unchurched friends – and, at the same time, be involved with them in raising funds for charities. With six Mosaic Cafe at the breakfasts a total of AUS$4,833 has been raised for 3 charities in 3 months. Owners of a commercial cafe at the Gabba (Queensland, Australia) have opened for this special initiative. According to the team it has been fun and ‘hard work’!
Norseman Children’s Club: If you look on a map you will find Norseman is a long way from most places, but in this small Western Australian community Nancy Park has cultivated a church plant. Faith is fostered in three gatherings – a children’s club with singing, games, crafts and stories (‘down on numbers a little at the moment for many children leave town through the football season and go to Esperance to compete’); a small Bible-reading group of four meeting each Saturday afternoon; and, a Wednesday craft afternoon – with about 8 ladies at the moment. Nancy says, ‘By the amount of chat and laughter I think they are enjoying themselves!’
Local church – planting four new churches! Julieth Keti reports from Honiara, Solomon Islands that the Naha Adventist Church is planting four churches – and assisting new believers establish houses as places of worship.
Innovative Matthew Parties. Alivio church plant is totally immersed in meeting the needs of their Deft (Netherlands) community. Planted by Antillian believers, including well-qualified social workers, the core team developed a plan with city leaders to work with migrant families and teenage mothers. A wide range of services are provided. Along side this work, the church plant builds relationships through a range of ‘Matthew Parties’ – including cruise trips, providing opportunities for participants to explore faith!
A.R.K for those with Questions! On two Saturdays each month the opportunity is provided by A.R.K (in the Netherlands) for discussions on difficult faith questions – including those related to science and ethics. Each theme is discussed with respect – providing for some participants, a ‘church’ experience. Organizers say that most who attend are older professionals, providing an important opportunity to question and find some answers.
Christmas in July – creates opportunities! Because Australia celebrates the festive season in mid-summer, the idea of also celebrating Christmas in July gives opportunity for hot dinners and ‘winter fun’! But it is also a ministry opportunity for church plants. Last Thursday Vive Cafe – a weekly community meal provided by Revive church plant, served about 150 guests with a wonderful three-course feast. This Saturday evening another plant, Living Waters Community Church, will provide a banquet and concert as a community fund-raiser.
Evergreen – a ‘fresh expression of church’! Jesus outlined his mandate for ministry – to bring good news to the poor, freedom for prisoners, sight for the blind, and to lift the burdens of the oppressed. (Luke 4:18-19) Those who are his kingdom people are those who feed the hungry, house the homeless, clothe the poor, care for sick and visit prisoners. (Matthew 25:31-46). Loiuse March has taken the principles of ‘fresh expressions’ of church – and in five years created an army of hundreds of volunteers befriending the elderly and lonely, providing nutritious meals – and a soup service, supporting people as they arrive home from hospital, and blitz-cleaning the homes of the elderly and sick. Louise has the vision that this ‘fresh expression’ of church will reach across the United KIngdom. Explore this simple website www.evergreencare.org.uk for ideas.
For an article on conversational prayer go to http://www.spectrummagazine.org/articles/spirituality/2010/06/08/experimenting_conversational_prayer
Postmoderns find faith by exploring the Bible for themselves! Many postmoderns are spiritual. They don’t like institutional religion – and are unlikely to accept Bible studies. But they can be encouraged to read the Bible for themselves. Guide them towards the Gospel of Mark – and suggest that after each story they reflect on: (1) What is new to me in this story? (2) What do I not like? (3) What do I not understand? (4) What will I apply to my life? And, (5) What will I share – and with whom, this week? The Holy Spirit takes them from there!
Equipping opportunities …
Tony & Felicity Dale in Australia – Aug 2010: Oikos Australia is hosting events in QLD Toowoomba Sat Aug 21 // NSW Sydney Sun Aug 22 // VIC Melbourne Tue Aug 24 HOUSE CHURCHES WITHIN THE LOCAL CHURCH; Wed Aug 25 FINDING A FAMILY FOR CHURCH EXILES (daytime) & THE CHALLENGE OF EFFECTIVE MISSION (evening) – bringing God’s kingdom into the growth corridors // SA Adelaide Fri Aug 27 // WA Perth Sat Aug 28. For details in each state visit www.oikos.org.au.
CONNECTING WITH YOUR NEIGHBORS CONFERENCE – Aug 20-21, 2010 in Melbourne, Australia. Sponsored by Ethnos, this conference will equip those living and sharing life with Muslim friends. Topics include: ‘Seeing the world through Muslim eyes!’ Registration is only $25 or $30 with Saturday lunch. If interested – please request an e-brochure by writing to [email protected].
House Churches bring New Life – Aug 24-25, 2010 @ The Factory (Mitcham Baptist Church), 8-12 Simla Street, Mitcham (VIC, Australia): Tony and Felicity Dale will be exploring –
Tues 24 Aug – 9.30am to 5.30pm: HOUSE CHURCHES WITHIN THE LOCAL CHURCH
Tues 24 Aug – 7.30pm to 9.30pm: FINDING A FAMILY FOR CHRISTIANS QUITTING CHURCH
Wed 25 Aug – 9.30am to 4.30pm: HOUSE CHURCHES: WHAT AND HOW?
Wed 25 Aug – 7.30pm to 9.30pm: THE CHALLENGE TO EFFECTIVE MISSION
Cost: Both days: $40 (one day: $25 // 1 daytime only: 1 evening only: $15) ; Registration: go online to www.pastornet.net.au/mpn/TMRegHC.htm
Adventist Innovation Conference – Columbus, Ohio, Oct 3-5, 2010: Early Christianity was a haven for courageous missional creativity. Likewise, early Adventism was a haven for the entrepreneurial spirit. Ten years into the 21st century, it’s time to rethink exactly what that means. How do we bring a vital and robust presence into today’s social, political, economic, and religious situations and conversations? How do we develop the ability to move quickly and purposefully to seize the complex and fast-changing opportunities of our time? How do we engage our culture in redemptive and transformational ways? Your voice needs to be heard. You need to hear other leading voices. Early-bird registration is only $99. For event details and on-line registration go to www.sdapartnersininnovation.org.
Western Australia Church Planting Summit – March 4-7, 2011 @ Logue Brook Dam: Plan to participate in a developing movement of church planters. In 2010 over 100 planters were equipped and inspired – in 2011, it may be 200+. Contact Marilyn Ostring for registration details [email protected].
CHURCH PLANTING NEWS Peter Roennfeldt