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Church planting - mission mindset + strong relationships (2)

Posted by Mark Jones Parry on

Nurturing church plants to have BOTH a mission mindset and strong relationships with the local community (Part 2)

The challenge we are faced with is to build a mission-minded Christian community with deep and wide-ranging relational connections. We want everyone to end up in area C.  In discipling the church, we want to create a steady movement up and to the right on the graph. 

Blog - Cluster graph


But how to do that?

Two brief suggestions: 

1) Get locals and planters engaged in mission in the community alongside one another:  Our experience suggests that deliberately bringing together people from each cluster accelerates the process.  Locals are able to act as 'door openers' into a wide range of subcultures and groups that would otherwise be closed to the new arrivals.  They help them to build friendships more quickly than would otherwise be possible.  Meanwhile, planters help model missional priorities as they seek to gently and appropriately evangelise their (now common) friends.

2) Build relationships of trust between locals and planters:  The above necessitates strong relationships of trust within the church.  The planters will need to learn from the locals about what is culturally appropriate.  Trust will be required as local people have a great deal more relational capital at risk (they risk offending friends they’ve known for years with the gospel rather than acquaintances they’ve known for weeks).  The locals may need to be challenged about their responsibility for mission and what it means to truly love their friends.

For us it’s early days!  I think it was inevitable that we have started with these two clusters from the way our church came about.  We continue to pray that we’ll increasingly move together towards the missional 'sweet spot':  a mission-minded Christian community with deep and wide-ranging relational connections.

Tags: radstock, church plant, mission, community, relationships


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