So 10 of us gathered for two weeks in our MA Church Planting unit at NTC Manchester from Monday 30th May- June 10th.
From different nationalities, cultures, denominations and models of church we took a walk through biblical, theological, historical, and practical aspects of church planting. Here's my top ten learning outcomes:
- TEN- Starting new church communities is one expression of mission that comes out of God's heart for His creation. It's a better motivation than getting bums on seats. We already have enough bums in the church!
- NINE- There are many Biblical and historical examples of new church communities but even if there weren't planting new missional communities would still be a cool idea!
- EIGHT- St. Paul & Co did it their way in their day for their contexts but that doesn't mean its a blueprint for us! You don't have to be circumcised to join my team!
- SEVEN- There's more than one way to start a new church. We examined at least 10 ways to form a new community. These are called 'models' and they each look beautiful.
- SIX- If I hear the phrase "what is church?" one more time I'll explode. Ecclesiastical minimums might be well and good but will somebody just get on and do what Jesus said and the rest will take care of itself!
- FIVE- Someone should call cafe church a Fresh Expresso of church! A bit of humour is necessary to balance the pain of setback!
- FOUR- Church planters are heroes...and only a few are heroines! We need to get that sorted.
- THREE-Church planters are heroes and heroines and need to be applauded and supported. It's hard enough to take a step of faith into the unknown without the Christian community leaving them to their own devices or their unique problems.
- TWO- Just as St. Paul's church plants did not last forever maybe new missional communities have their own life cycle and sadly not every child makes it to adulthood. Does that make it any less loved or valuable?
- ONE- How do we define success and failure? For me success is helping someone get closer to Jesus. Failure is not to even try.