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Church planting questions (2)

Posted by Mark Jones Parry on

Church planting:  Should the “church meeting” or the “church community” take priority at the outset?  (Part 2 – A “community led” model; Creates a strong & immediate emphasis on relationship-building The church plant is established with a culture that is all about mission through relationships (as opposed to a “hold a meeting and they will come” approach).  The business of mission is more likely to be understood as a deliberate pattern of life rather than a something limited to certain times in the week. 

  • Energies are devoted to relationships which then act as a pathway into Christian community In the early days (when resources are limited) energies can be given over to spending time with other Christians (e.g. house church, team bible study and prayer…).
  • Builds a strong awareness of local culture before committing to forms/styles of public meeting and teaching.  Waiting to set up a regular public meeting delays the first impression until it can be tailored to the context.
  • However, this approach also has potential limitations:

    • Delays creating a potentially important pathway into Christian community  In many (sub)cultures, a church meeting remains an normal/acceptable thing to do, and an easy, low-commitment way to “check out” a new church.  Likewise, this model can delay finding Christians in the community the planters seek to reach.
    • The danger of intensity A small group of people who know each other well, and share important common features (e.g. a lifestyle shaped by the gospel, middle class accents, everyone employed…) can be intimidating for newcomers.  A public meeting provides a degree of distance and freedom to opt in or opt out.  A private gathering does not.


    These portraits of meeting-led and community-led plants are simplistic (even caricatured) to emphasise the contrasts.  I hope they serve to highlight some of the strengths and weaknesses of the two extremes.

    The question then is:  How do you establish a right balance in a particular context?

    See blogposts to follow...

    Tags: radstock, church plant, community, meetings, relationships, contextualisation


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