One of the reasons why I started blogging was to force myself to confront and explore stuff in the blogosphere that I could not fully do in ‘realworld’. This is why I am doing this particular series of posts.
So I’m sat there the next day after I went to this service with all of these questions buzzing around my head: ‘Am I in the right place? Should I even be in leadership? If so…is there a place for me?’
I think the Church is God’s…I don’t think walking away for me is a solution (smacks too much of ‘me, the individual’….part of the thing about church is relationships, connecting, showing what the Christian life is like…. and if one starts something new it is started with connection with the old. Leaving any established church/fellowship to plant something independently smacks so much of an independent capitalist mindset…at least it does IMHO).
I then found this- and hoped again….it is written by a pioneer minister-my heart is with stuff like this.
It is the story of a Baptist pioneer minister thrown into working with an Anglican vicar in a gathered collection of parishes ( I love stories where lines are blurred)
After a lot of relationship building, holiday clubs, this happens, which is very similar to stuff I have been involved in building in my last two places:-
So in September 2006, ‘Sunday Club’ was launched with personal invitations for each of the sixty or so children that had been to the holiday club, and adverts in the village magazines and through the schools. It was advertised as a ‘holiday club on a Sunday’ and this meant that there would be video, games, craft, action songs, a creative prayer activity, and a very short talky bit focussed around a memory verse. A number of families from the holiday club joined us at the first event and although a few didn’t return, many continued to come each fourth Sunday.
It was small scale, basic (you don’t need a lot of people to do stuff like this- in fact if you are part of a ‘weak’ church it is probably easier- you can’t hide in programmes and events and often in rural areas, the boundaries are a little more ‘blurred’).
And then, from this, in another attached parish…another possibility came up to start something new (and many original church members wondered why people who came to the first club did not some into church…ditto my experience- church is like a foreign planet to many who are dechristian)….which took on a different direction and began to engage with unchurched people (I don’t like that jargon, but I’ll stick with it).
What really got me about this storyÂ (Full article http://www.freshexpressions.org.uk/node/334) was that this new community involved no ‘modern songs’ (I really don’t like anything with the word ‘modern’ in it) and seemed much more relational.
Although I have my doubts about the sustainability of anything requiring paid staff (one reason, from time to time, whilst I muse about getting into ‘tentmaking’…ie finding another trade so I can do this stuff). I loved the simplicity of this and the awareness that to plant etc it was not about ‘Right, lets open the box, we need some guitarists, modern worship etc’ as a first course of action.
I did note that towards the end of the article they were seeking a ‘Bishop’s Mission Order’ (don’t know the jargon, but I gather that is a good thing) to employ someone to sustain and develop this work. Hmmm….. defined community, semi rural, relationships, ‘loitering with intent’, working with people who are inside/outside church…..and talk of
‘taking a leading role in organising social events and ‘community blessing’ activities’.
well- if it came up, I’d be tempted…..
Â I love the history- the provisionality, the working togetherÂ and the openess. Excited by planting that does not involve singing stuff all the time.. and the possibility for development and getting stuck into a community….
Now get that order and if you want a conflicted nearly 44 year old- I’m your man…