Recently I heard Michael Frost say that it was time for the Baptist church in Australia to be a ‘movement’ rather than just a church. There was a time when the Adventist church saw itself as a ‘movement’! That term could not be used of the church in most areas of the western/northern world. A couple of weeks ago I spent a few hours at the business session of the Adventist church in Victoria. Over the last 3 years the church in this state (with about 10,000 adult members) has increased by only 300+ and (what was more disturbing) this raised no comment from the over 400 delegates present! What could a ‘movement’ look like? Here are some possibilities –
Church Planting will be the Way of Church: Eight planting teams have been trained in Western Australia in 2006 and are now planting new churches. Other groups are forming. Glenn Townend, the Western Australia Conference president, is an experienced church planter – and he actively fosters planting. “Members are starting to realize that church doesn’t need to be done only as it has in the past,” says Phil Brown. “It seems that every few weeks I am contacted by members who are interested in doing something. They want to know how they can proceed.”
Leaders create a Vision & Launch Next1000 in Australia: In the last couple of months the vision of another 1,000 evangelical churches being planted in Australia has been growing. A simple email was sent out to those who might be interested, stating, “We have a vision for the next 1,000 churches. Who wants in?” This short notice resulted in about 30 people turning up in Sheffield (Tasmania, Australia) to share a vision of what an Australian church planting movement could look like. “We threw ourselves headlong into prayer and worship,” reports Steve Addison – one of the facilitators. “We got out the whiteboard, the butcher paper (Australian for big sheets of paper), the Post-it notes and pens – and did some serious thinking and planning.”
What do you think a church planting movement could look like?