Jonny Baker, long time observer of all things missional and emergent, reports in from a meeting which infused him with hope:
yesterday there was a gathering in london diocese of around 30 groups like this and church plants. and well done the diocese for encouraging such a gathering! i don’t want to create a glossary or anything but a church plant is generally someone starting a new church and the language of plant means it often takes something of the character of what it’s planted from and usually looks like a church – people gathering, worshipping, reaching out, making disciples, giving money and eventually embedding into the wider structures of the church. it used to be quite something to be able to get permission to plant a church but now certainly in london there is a lot of activity in this area which is great.
but what was so interesting yesterday was that most of the people in the room were doing something else, often a bit looser, harder to pin down and perhaps harder to see, more missional. most were a small community that had moved into a particular area (often one with a lot of deprivation and poverty), meeting together in a bar or home or allotment, seeking to follow christ but their focus is simply helping transform their community – in arts, environment, in social needs, with youth and so on. they are not that focused on growing big – but more like the yeast of the kingdom that jesus talked about infecting the wider batch of dough. a couple of people spoke of the challenge of weaning members off their addiction to consumer approaches to church where they get their fix of worship and teaching and meeting with friends before they could properly engage in this more local, outward focused community approach (maybe we need a 12 step detox programme for leaving consumner church!?). what was also interesting is that many of these described a positive relationship with their local churches – they were not competing for punters – far from it. but they brought a mission energy to the area that could really help a local church or do things a local church was not able to do.
read the rest: jonnybaker: missional communities – something’s going on!.