Wow! Fall is looming up before us already and most of us are making plans for how we can be salt and light, the Church, in our neighbourhoods in this next season, whatever it may hold for us in the ongoing changing landscape of life disrupted by a pandemic and other world events!
It also means deadlines for engaging in some of the amazing opportunities and pathways available to you and which you can read more details about HERE including the contacts for registration.
This past year (September through March) two of our CBWC churches participated in the Year One Course From the Centre forLeadershipDevelopment – “Forming and Reforming Communities of Christ in a Secular Age. One of those churches was where I attend. Five of our leadership team took part in reimagining engaging in mission right in our own area. This has benefited us greatly in understanding together how we can move deeper in shared practices within our church community and engage more relevantly and meaningfully by discovering where God is already at work bringing his presence, his shalom, into our neighbourhoods. The good work we did in that course and the consultation with Tim for our whole Leadership Team (board, elders, staff) is now being fleshed out with a larger group of our folk as we endeavor to discern together how God is forming and reshaping us to engage in his mission. Registration is open now for a mid-September start!
More than a decade ago when I was an Associate Pastor at another church, I brought some our leaders to an event brought to Victoria from The Forge Missional Network and facilitated by our own Cam Roxburgh (who I did not know back then). This opportunity was sponsored by our City-Wide Ministerial, and leaders from a wide range of churches and denominations in Victoria attended this workshop/course Friday and Saturday. It changed and began to reshape my understanding of evangelism, discipleship and mission, and gave words to what had been a growing passion in myself and the leaders who attended with me. Fast forward to today and we have The Discovery Project pathway to begin the conversation with your church and leaders. “Many leaders have gone through some missional training and are asking how they might help their people to “discover” some of the exciting opportunities presented to us as followers of Jesus in these difficult days. The Discovery Project is one response to this question.” Registration for this pathway is flexible as is church specific but don’t delay as space fills up!
For our churches who are already exploring what it means to be the Church in our day as missional engaged people, The Neighbourhood Project is here to help! This pathway brings together cohorts of groups to explore, equip and implement what the Spirit is leading them to. This pathway is filling up so fast, its now added a second and likely a third cohort and there is still some room so don’t delay!
Again, you can access more information and contacts for registration HERE
Don’t miss out on these great opportunities as we all desire to participate in the advancing of God’s kingdom here on earth!
by: Shannon Youell, CBWC Director of Church Planting (and initiatives)
It’s time for my Annual Summer Reading List!
This year I am featuring books that I’ve read or am working my way through. This past year I’ve been working my way through some of the books around topics that challenge the church. I offer two of the ones that I found most helpful in seeing the historical, theological and ethical contexts. I also include a commentary that I am thoroughly enjoying, and a couple of books helpful for us as we re-think and re-form our church communities around the mission of God in our time. Without any further ado, let’s dive in! Let me know if you tackled any of these and perhaps consider writing a review.
Two Views on Homosexuality; the Bible; and the Church: Megan K. De Franca, Wesley Hill, Stephen R. Holmes, William Loader – from Zondervan’s Counterpoints Series – editor Preston Sprinkle (from the Center for Faith and Sexuality)
I have read a variety of books from differing viewpoints on this topic. I find this book to be one of the most helpful I’ve read as the essayists both articulate their viewpoint and interact with one another’s essays. Contributors are four “accomplished scholars in the fields of biblical studies, theology and topics related to sexuality and gender”; two from an affirming position and two from a non-affirming position. For each view, the editors “intentionally enlisted one theologian and one biblical scholar to articulate and defend each of the two views. I quite appreciated the respectful, academic, theological, ethical and pastoral tone with which each approached the topic and how in each essay I discovered things that I both agreed with, disagreed with and was challenged in my thinking on.
The making of Biblical Womanhood: How the Subjugation of Women Became Gospel Truthby Beth Allison Barr
Anyone who knows my husband knows he is a history geek. I, regretfully, was not, (being far more of how-do-we-live-now-so-we-do-well-in-the-future kind of thinker), until I studied Church History! Then I started reading history in general and realized that as much as I love Church history, reading it removed and outside of political, economic, social and cultural histories was reading it out of context.
Beth Allison Barr is a historian, a Christian and a professor of history at Baylor University. Her studies in history, and in particular her academic specialties in European women, medieval and early modern England, and church history disrupted her understanding of complementarianism that she understood from her Southern Baptist roots. Written with well-honed academic muscle in a very accessible narrative, Barr tackles the idea of Biblical Womanhood from scripture, history and church practice over the centuries. She poses, using and citing historical evidence, that the concept of “Biblical Womanhood” was constructed by the patterns of patriarchy in societies and cultures and how, over the centuries, they seeped into the church.
Whatever your view of women in the church, this is a must read and, in my humble opinion, should be added to the reading list of all seminaries.
The Story of God Bible Commentary: Genesis by Tremper Longman III
This is the seventh commentary in this series that I own (thank you Kindle!). This Commentary series delves into the meaning of the text both in the past and for us today. Each commentary uses the pattern of Listen to the Story; Explain the Story; and Live the Story. I love reading commentaries and I am really enjoying this offering written by Tremper Longman III, Robert H. Gundry Professor of Biblical Studies at Westmont College. Genesis has always been one of my favorite OT books (to be honest there are many!) and Longman guides the reader through the richness of this book of ‘beginnings’.
What is the church and why does it exist? by David Fitch
Practices, Presence and Places. These 3 P’s shape Fitch’s recent book calling the church to renewal in our disruptive times. As Fitch writes in his Introduction:
“When things get chaotic, and no longer seem to make sense, we must go back to the “what” and the “why” questions. We must ask all over again: What are we doing here when we gather as the church and why are we doing it? Only then can we get to the “how” question. Only then can we discern how to be faithful to who we are and the mission we have been given. Perhaps this is a cultural moment that offers us an opportunity to reset the church in North America. Perhaps this is an ideal time for Christians everywhere to reexamine what it means to be the church. It is an occasion for us to ask all over again what we are doing here, who we are, and how we should live as a part of the local church.”
This book is for those who have long had a sense that God is reshaping us as his church for just such a time of this and for those who just know something has changed and yet don’t know what it all means. I recommend this for all who love the church that God loves and long to see God’s kingdom flourish right where you live, work, play and pray.
Why Would Anyone Go To Church? By Kevin Makin
Kevin Makin is a church planter and pastor of Eucharist Church in Hamilton Ontario, a church associated with Canadian Baptists of Ontario & Quebec (CBOQ). In his book, he tells the story of the planting and establishing of an innovative and creative community that engages both people of faith and those seeking for some kind of meaning. For Kevin and his team the big question was planting within the context of the next generation. They asked themselves big and important questions: “What does Christian community look like for this next generation?” “Who will it be for?” And the big one: “Why would anyone go to church?”
Kevin writes in his introduction: “People ask me if I’m surprised that so many are leaving the church. Surprised? Are you kidding me? I can’t believe anyone still does this church thing. And yet they do. For two thousand years, people have continued to be a part of the church, despite war and persecution and corruption and organ music. Why has church survived? Surely something has made it so meaningful to so many people for such a long period of time. That’s what we were trying to understand when we started a new church a decade ago. What we discovered is that few of our peers are interested in competing with the culture around us. The Jesus followers I know aren’t sticking with the church because church is better than a concert or more interesting than a podcast. They’re staying because there are primordial elements of Christian community that are far more rooted than all that superficial fluff.”
Kevin’s book is written with humility and candor of the triumphs and challenges of planting something contextual and cultural that invites people to faith whether it is an ‘old’ faith or a ‘new’ faith. This is a fun and insightful quick read – I read it in a day.
Eucharist has been recognized as one of the most creative and innovative churches in the country and spotlighted on national television and radio outlets, in newspapers, and on podcasts.
Pick up one or more of these (or download onto your e-reader) and let me know your thoughts/reviews on books. Happy Summer Reading friends!
By Guest Blogger Kevin Vincent – Director of the Centre for New Congregations Canadian Baptists of Atlantic Canada
Recently I heard Simon Sinek explain his philosophy of “existential flexibility”. He said, “existential flexibility is the capacity of a leader or an organization to shift 180 degrees and begin to plan and behave in an entirely new way, given an entirely new reality and environment. It’s the capacity to make a 180 degree shift to advance your cause.”
In addressing that specifically for churches, he said that as the church moves past the COVID-19 chapter, many faith leaders are simply moving back to the way it was, to what they know and to what they have always done. He said, “They know they can’t do what they used to do, but they don’t know what to do!”
Perhaps you can relate. As it relates to your church, you would say, “I know we can’t go back now! But I don’t know where to go now!” Let’s be “flexible existentialists” for the next few minutes. Let me prompt your thinking by heading down what would be a 180 degree shift for most churches moving forward and let’s begin with a radical question. Here it is.
Is it time for your church to cancel your Sunday morning worship service? Is it time to say that the current model of how most of us “do church” has run its course? Is it time to embrace the reality that the culture has shifted, people have little interest in weekly, larger, group gatherings and POST-COVID it’s not coming back. Is it time to abandon a tired old model of church?
If I’ve already said enough to tick you off, stick with me because I’m much more hopeful than I’m sounding.
A recent survey in the United States by the UNSTUCK group reported that churches that have re-opened have seen about 36% of people return.
Now I know those are American statistics. Hold your fire! BUT at least anecdotally, even if we don’t have as clear Canadian survey results, a lot of pastors are experiencing the same and are wondering, “Who’s coming back? When will they come back? Who’s not coming back?”
Let’s just imagine that we’re twice as good as the Americans (Canadians like to think that!). Let’s imagine that we get 70% of people back! Are we OK with that? Is 70% good enough? Perhaps we should just conclude that those that don’t return are simply the hard soil, the rocky and thorny ground, of Jesus’ parable. They’re a good excuse to clean up our membership list.
Even more shocking is that the American survey discovered that only 40% of those under the age of 36 prefer larger in-person gatherings. That means that 6 in 10 church-goers under the age of 36 aren’t sure that they care about your Sunday morning worship service anymore and aren’t looking to return. So should you cancel Sunday?
I believe the answer is No! But let me suggest an “existentially flexible”, new way forward that was true pre-pandemic and has been dramatically accelerated as we move toward becoming a post-pandemic Church. Here it is.
The future of the church in Canada will not be grounded in a single site expression but in a multiplicity of congregational gatherings, meeting at different times, in different places, with different people.
Single site. Single gathering. Single location. Single time. See you Sunday at 10:30 is not the future.
Now what could that look like for your church if you adopted that type of a posture? Is there still a place for a Sunday morning worship gathering? Of course! There are many who love that expression of church. In fact, 70% of the church-going Boomers surveyed want to go back to that traditional Sunday gathering. It’s still meaningful. It’s what they know and love. We can’t steal that. Moving forward it needs to be a piece of the reimagined church.
But the great majority of younger generations don’t share that conviction. They’re finding connection in the digital church. They’re enjoying a house church that has emerged with 4 other families. They’re creating dinner church experiences with a dozen friends on a Thursday night. They’re a Sunday morning “huddle church”. Some are creating their own “worship gathering and liturgy”. Others are joining together for a “watch party” of their church’s online service.
What would it look like for your church to consider a multiplied model? What would it look like to embrace a true hybrid expression of church that still celebrates the traditional Sunday gathering but also cheerleads and celebrates multiple, smaller congregations meeting during the week, in various locations, at various times, with many groups of people?
I think I can already hear some push-back. “Yeah but we’re a little church! We’re only small! We can’t multiply anything! That’s a big church model!”
No it’s not!! Don’t take your “existentially flexible” hat off yet! What if there were 31 people meeting on Sunday at 10:30am in your church facility. Perhaps there’s another group of 14 on Thursday night over dinner? And another group of 23 on Tuesday night over coffee in a café?
And what if fellowship happened? What if care happened? What if teaching happened? What if you started serving together? Could that in fact be a true congregation by New Testament standards? Could that simply be another expression of your church, another congregation, at a different time, in a different place, reaching different people, tethered together as multiple congregations and still ONE church?
Could THAT be a new forward? Could that be the answer that your church needs to consider? As Simon Sinek asks, “Do you have the capacity to make that 180 degree shift to advance your cause.” We must! It’s a new day for the Church! Jesus is still building His Church and His cause is too great not to try!
Kevin Vincent is the Director for the Centre of Congregational Development with CBAC. He is part of Canadian Baptist National Cohort along with Cid Latty from CBOQ and Shannon Youell from CBWC. Together we dream and vision and work towards sharing resources and imagination for our churches as they join God in extending the Good News into multiple communities in which the folk in our churches live, work, play and pray. And we laugh a lot.
Sitting at the beach and staring at the waves, caught up in the rhythms of the immense forces that push and pull, I found myself in a pensive mood.
I had earlier passed a church sign that read: “Wondering how you can be saved? Believe in the Lord Jesus and be saved!” Traffic was stopped at that point and I stared at that sign, turning the words around in my mind until traffic began to flow again.
Watching the waves, I pondered that sign. Who in our North American context is actually asking themselves how to be saved? Who would even know what it meant to believe in Lord Jesus? The answer of course, would be people who had some sort of assumed knowledge of the God of the Bible, of Jesus as Savior and Lord. The sign makes sense to those folk even if they are disinterested, disengaged or done with church and religion.
But what of our increasingly secularized culture? We now have men, women and children who have no context to place that into. To them the sign is meaningless, and when stopped in traffic and reading that sign, would only give it a cursory glance as it is in a foreign language.
The unchurched people I hang around with and know are rarely asking themselves that question. They don’t see themselves as needing saving, and indeed, they don’t see themselves as sinners.
For all intents and purposes, these friends of mine are the “Nones“. They have no historical or cultural memory of the Christian religion and do not consider themselves religiously affiliated at all.
Which brings me to the tension I see in that church sign. How can I talk about God, Jesus and gospel to people who have no context or even belief in a God who actually cares about the world? To many, our assumed ways of talking about the gospel are like a foreign language. “Could you tell a gospel story in a way that resonates with the nones? What would it sound like? What does re-imagining the Gospel sound like? (I’m not suggesting re-inventing, I’m curious about re-telling.)” Rohadi
Which brings us to our Engaging Gospel Series. The series is shaped to help us re-shape our language and find multiple entry points to engage the Nones and Dones in our lives and neighbourhoods. We learn the language of the day so we might engage in conversation that can open doors to journeying with folk towards God, the cross and then to the understanding of how we can be saved in the midst of the brokenness of the world we live in.
The Engaging Gospel Series is a good place to start in your churches and your small groups, to learn a “new” language to help us tell this wonderful story to the culture of our day. This is what missionaries do and have always done: learn the language and the culture of the people with whom they wish share God’s Big Story.
As we seek to explore the way of Jesus (His way of humility that seems upside-down in our culture of power and pride) we will inevitably have to consider Jesus’ constant invitation into loving one another as a testimony of the Father’s love. Dallas Friesen from our sister denomination CBOQ shares these words about how we as Baptists in Canada can choose the humble way of Jesus as we wrestle together through conflict and diverse perspectives. Thanks, Dallas for your words (originally posted on baptist.ca).
A Gentle Answer
By Dallas Friesen
“Christ, present in the lives of congregational members, leads them corporately to discover and obey his mind and will. Such ‘congregational government’ calls for and expresses the equality and responsibility of believers under the Lordship of Christ.”
“Why Baptist?”, p. 13
It has been said that if there are 80 Baptists in one room, there will be 85 opinions. We are infamous for disagreeing with one another on everything from crucial theological points to whether pews should have cushions. We can do this because we have autonomy, meaning that each church is free to make its own decisions on many subjects. While we are all people of Scripture and of conscience, it doesn’t mean we’re all the same. Though we choose to gather around the same table and share the same distinctives, we are free to express the unique flavours of our respective congregations. Sometimes it is like a glorious feast. At other times, a culinary disaster.
Before we berate ourselves too harshly, let’s remember this: even those closest to Jesus had conflict. Ten of his disciples were fairly annoyed when James and John wanted to secure their right to sit and Jesus’ right hand. (Matt. 20:20-24) Paul had strong words for Peter over his choice in dinner guests, (Gal. 2:11-14) and parted ways with Barnabas for a time over a disagreement regarding Mark’s fitness for service. (Acts 15:36-41) And who can forget poor Euodia and Syntyche, forever remembered in Scripture as the women who couldn’t get along? (Phil. 4:2-3) And that’s just the beginning!
Even when we are in the presence of Christ, we, his broken followers, will disagree. Given that, how do we do it well?
Peter Scazzero, in his book Emotionally Healthy Spirituality, looks at how to deal with conflict—not by avoiding it as “false peacemakers,” but by responding as Jesus would respond. “Jesus’ profound, contemplative prayer life with his Father resulted in a contemplative presence with people… This ability to really listen and pay attention to people was at the very heart of his mission. It could not help but move him to compassion. In the same way, out of our contemplative time with God, we, too, are invited to be prayerfully present to people, revealing their beauty to themselves.” (p. 180)
When we are faced with conflict, it is easy to seize passionately on to the idea and forget the person from whom it comes. It is tempting to steamroll over others, hear only the points we want to hear and enjoy the temporary delights of the offended. But righteous indignation isn’t one of the fruits of the Spirit. Gentleness is. We need not compromise on what we believe to be true, but our love for Christ and our brothers and sisters in his kingdom compels us to share our ideas and opinions… gently. Christians are meant to be builders—those upon whom Christ can build his church—not bulldozers.
Tools, like words, can be used to build or to bulldoze.
When I was in grade 5, attending a Christian school, we were required to memorize Proverbs 15:1—“A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” I cannot count the number of times in my life that I have returned to that piece of deep wisdom. As you go about your day, I hope you will join with me in this prayer from Scazzero’s book:
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me. I am aware, Lord, of how often I treat people as Its, as objects, instead of looking at them with the eyes and heart of Christ. Lord, I have unhealthy ways of relating that are deeply imbedded in me. Please change me. Make me a vessel to spread mature, steady, reliable love so that people with whom I come in contact sense your tenderness and kindness. Deliver me from false peacemaking that is driven by fear. Lord Jesus, help me love well like you. Grow me, I pray, into an emotionally mature adult through the Holy Spirit’s power. In Jesus’ name, amen.” (EHS, p. 194)
But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.
Since originally posting the amazing stories of Joyce Oxnard and Betty Milne Anderson, we had the joy of hearing from Betty with an update of what they’ve been up to since our blog story ended. We’re honoured to hear these stories and see the incredible faithfulness and humble generosity of these two leaders–loving the Lord with all their hearts, souls, minds, and strength by serving and witnessing to the people of Canada. Enjoy this continuation of the story straight from Betty’s keyboard! ~Cailey
When we first became involved with the BUWC (CBWC) the term “Church planting” was new to us and I think to many churches in the denomination. So many changes and such exciting ones.
While it’s true that Argyle Road Baptist Church was our last assignment in the sense of church planting or Interim ministry, we weren’t done yet! While we were in Regina we were called to serve in Yorkton, SK. They had been without a pastor for considerable time after the retirement of Rev. Daykin who had ministered there for 24 years. I think there was difficulty finding someone who would follow such a long time of ministry because historically, pastors stayed for a short time following a lengthy ministry. When we were called, a member of the Search Committee stated that we were the last resort! We served in Yorkton for five years and felt that the Lord blessed us and the church during that time. After that we spent the next year in Inuvik after which Joyce officially retired.
I wasn’t quite ready for retirement and in 1998 I was called to First Baptist Church in Saskatoon as Part Time Associate Pastor. Blake Anderson was the Senior Pastor who retired early to care for his wife who was dying of cancer. Joyce assisted me with providing Pastoral care for a few months until our new Senior Pastor, Paul Matheson, arrived in 2000. Official retirement for me was in August, 2003.
A new phase of ministry and service opened up for me when Blake and I were married the next year and we have been involved in the Lord’s work in various ways ever since.
Unfortunately Joyce has been struggling with Alzhiemer’s Disease for the last few years and we have been her Caregivers. Frequently she says, “We have been so blessed. God has provided everything we need.” A true statement of faith even in the midst of memory loss and confusion and one which I agree with completely.
Our lives certainly don’t end at retirement. Even in her confusion and uncertainty with Alzheimers, Joyce frequently says, “I wish there was some way we could still serve the Lord. Do you think the three of us could start a church somewhere?”
I remind her that praying may be what the Lord wants us to do just now. And that might be the most important.
Does your church have a vision of multiplying? More often than not, we find ourselves (wishfully, on the back burners of our minds) thinking that planting a church would be great, but we don’t have any intentionality towards it. Yet Jesus called us to be “senders” from within to with-out. Unless we begin to examine why we should plant outwards, we will never cultivate the ethos of multiplication as part of our discipleship process within.
Some Tough Questions So though we say we are called on mission with God, we often find ourselves asking: Why plant? Doesn’t that just diminish what we already have? Won’t it stretch our limited resources beyond sustainability? What is our mission anyways and to whom should our missional focus be toward? Are we here for sake of maintaining the local church or for the community—the parish that is all around us? Does God place us in particular places to be His proclaimers of the gospel of the Kingdom of God?
These are questions worth spending time wrestling over. Often we can’t imagine our church even imagining planting a new church community that might “compete” with what faithful practices we engage in. Yet statistically, new churches actually renew community interest to those who are de-churched or unchurched and brings renewed excitement to our existing congregations as they partner in new life. Because after a while, folk in our communities don’t even notice our presence anymore. A new church can generate curiosity in a community.
Recently our local news carried a story about a large household products store closing out and a new Save-On Foods grocery moving in. There were some reactionary expressions from established independent grocers that this large chain will ‘steal’ their customer base and eventually squeeze them out. Just this year a new grocery store opened and another announced they would be the anchor in a new commercial development, so a third mega store seemed overkill. Yet after a few days of reflection some of those same grocers spoke positively and welcoming of the new stores. It causes their customers to take another look around at what their shopping needs are and they shift to that which meets their needs or become more loyal to where they already shop.
Just within the last few weeks a new church plant launched in my smallish, yet rapidly growing community on Vancouver Island. Their first Sunday saw eight hundred people come out to two services. Some initial reactions are that this new, more dynamic expression of gathering together will “steal” some folk from the already established and numerically struggling churches.
Yet a renewed interest in seeking God can actually benefit the existing churches. As curious already-Christians and not-yet-believers explore the new plant, some will stay, some return to whence they came, and others, who taste and see that the Lord is good, will discover places where they find belonging. Often that is in the new plant, but frequently they begin to explore the other area churches until they find their place of home and faith.
Multiplication or Cloning? Another misconception we can have about planting is that it can only really be church if it looks like us…as though we are cloning rather than multiplying. Creating a new gathering that looks like us has and will continue to be a way to plant churches, but it can’t be our only way. We must always consider our context and culture and what God is already doing in the places where He is preparing for harvest. Multiplying can take on many expressions that won’t necessarily look like our particular culture, yet brings the presence of the ministry of reconciliation into the places and spaces around us.
Here are some ways that some of our CBWC folk are pursuing joining God on His multiplying mission:
Existing congregations who recognize they are primarily in the upper age group and perhaps declining in numbers yet long to see the legacy of the good work they spent their lives laboring at continue into the younger generations. Some of these faithful folk are the catalysts of prayer, resourcing and mentoring a second service with a completely different expression than they practice so that the faithful presence of God at work in their neighbourhood flourishes.
“TO EXPAND IN THIS MULTICONGREGATIONAL WAY MAY BE THE MOST RESPONSIBLE, COMMUNITY-RELEVANT WAY TO GROW.” (KEVIN MANNOIA – CHURCH PLANTING: THE NEXT GENERATION). MANNOIA GOES ON TO CLARIFY THAT HE IS NOT SUGGESTING HAVING MULTIPLE SERVICES DUE TO FACILITY CONSTRAINTS BUT OF HAVING “INTENTIONAL EFFORTS TO REACH DIFFERENT PEOPLE WITH THE SAME MESSAGE AND DEVELOP A NEW CONGREGATION WITH ITS OWN IDENTITY AND CHARACTERISTICS.”
Neighbourhood focuses are a great way to bring God’s faithful presence through the already-believers in the hood to others who have yet to encounter Jesus. Some of our CBWC churches are focusing their missional impulses on the neighbourhoods in which their constituents live, building genuine bridges between people who live next to other, yet are strangers. They welcome the stranger and the alien and love them with Christ’s healing, restorative love, discipling folk in the Jesus Way before they even introduce them to Him. Church plants like this birth new churches out of sharing Jesus from within community rather than planting a church and then doing outreach in a neighbourhood. It’s more like in-reach!
What about joining with other CBWC churches in your area to share in starting a new community of faith in a neighbourhood where one is not yet there? Sharing this work in energy and resources builds strong relationships broadly and local specific building up both the body and the kingdom. Bob Roberts Jr. says that church planting should be thought of more as community development than building a place for already believers to gather; he calls them “community faith engagers” rather than church planters.
These are but a few of the ways we can begin to cultivate the ethos of multiplication within our church communities. The key is getting involved somehow, someway–stepping outside our known practices to discover the Holy Spirit at work all around us in unexpected ways.
How about You? CBWC is here to coach, mentor, train and resource you on whatever the multiplication path may look like for you. Contact us to explore how you and your folk can lean into the legacy of the past to propel the legacy of the next generations!
As we at the CBWC work with you to grow your communities and witness people encountering Jesus, we want to bring you resources that will help frame our thinking about local mission and the tools to practice and disciple others.
Brad Brisco is offering a Mission Essentials clinic on October 12 in Leduc, AB, and October 13 in Surrey, BC.
We are so convinced that this workshop could be a game changer for your congregation that CBWC Church Planting is covering the costfor as many of you and your church folk and leaders to come as possible. Just register each attendee here.
Brad is an author, church planter, teacher and catalyzer. One of the gifts that he has brought to the church in the past few years is his ability to take deep theological truths and make them understandable for normal people who love Jesus. This day with Brad will help churches to chart a course of action for understanding the mission of God and then helping us imagine how God wants us to engage in our neighbourhoods. This workshop is for everyone who is a follower of Jesus.
Please, please, please make these two sessions a priority for your church’s members and leadership team, and don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions at email@example.com.
Last week, I shared a resource with some tips for suburban life for God’s Kingdom. This week, let’s talk about the importance of church planting in the city! ~ Cailey
9 Reasons We Must Connect our Churches with Cities
By Chuck Lawless
Even if you have no interest in urban settings and ministries, I plead with you to continue to read this post. We are called to get the gospel to all peoples of the world (Matt. 28:18-20), and we will not do that if we shy away from the world’s cities. Please read on, and pray about how your church might tackle a city – then encourage others to read this post as well.
The smallest church can reach out to a city. To be honest, it’s simple – find a ministry in a city, and partner with them. Whether your church is itself urban or rural, with 10 members or 10,000, you can do something in the city. The needs are so great that opportunities are there for everybody.
People are in the cities. This reason is basic, but not insignificant. The world has been more urban than rural for at least seven years now. The ten most populated cities in the U.S. have 25 million people in the actual city boundaries, with 95 million people in the ten largest metropolitan areas. The church needs to be where people are.
Evangelicals aren’t always in our cities. Though this picture is rightly changing, evangelicals have not been strong in cities. We have emphasized evangelism but have been cautious about engaging some of the most obvious mission fields in the world. Gospel-witness voids still remain.
The nations are in the cities. Years ago, I was privileged to minister in a Vietnamese village in Moscow, Russia. I’ve been with Hispanics in South Asia and Europeans in Southeast Asia. If the Lord would allow me, I would live in the middle of New York City – an urban setting where more than 800 languages are spoken. If we want to reach the world’s people groups, the city is the place to go.
World influencers are in the city. Think about the potential of influencing the world if we reach leaders in New York, Los Angeles, London, Tokyo, or Mumbai. The worlds of the arts, literature, politics, sports, media, etc. are there – what would happen if the gospel influences them?
The needy are in the city. Poverty in the city offers significant opportunity for the church to minister. The combined stresses of poverty and urban life often threaten families, foster division, and invite crime. The church has the answer to all of these issues – if the church is there.
Job opportunities are often there. That’s not to say that everyone will find a job, but the sheer size of cities often provides employment opportunities. Here’s the reason this point matters: believers can move to cities to be a light in the darkness, trusting that finding a job will not be an impossibility.
Reaching the city requires partnerships. No single church can reach millions of people, even with multi-site approaches. City reaching requires us to push beyond our differences to work together. That unity is what Jesus prayed for in John 17, and it wouldn’t hurt us to work together for the Great Commission task.
The job is too big for us. Who can reach 22 million+ in greater New York or the 37 million+ in Tokyo? Who would even know where to start? God does, and He requires us to seek Him and His wisdom. If the city drives us to our knees, that’s a good place to be.
While small groups may look different or even have different purposes in different contexts, we do wholeheartedly agree that if churches are to grow as a living organism, every level of church life needs to be reproducible–individual life transformation, group transformation, church-wide transformation and eventually city transformation.
Small groups are one of the best incubators for leadership development because they provide consistent, low-risk opportunities to serve and lead in a context of accountability and trust. But leaders in training can fail to reach their potential if the small group never multiplies because they don’t get the opportunity to step out and lead their own group.
What does group multiplication look like in your context? Are Rainer’s tips helpful for where your church wants to head? Share your thoughts here on this blog or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.