How do we make Church?
Classroom reflections with Christina Baxter
What do we need to know before we begin?
Once the work begins, what challenges do we anticipate?
How do we define Church? What is Church?
Cover the whole week with visits to the key places like the shops, the school, the library, the pubs, the playgroups.
Need orientated evangelism is probably the key.
What are the needs of this community? Are the teens occupied? Are the parks tidy and cared for? ETC
Pray over how your giftings might be realised.
How might we equip and mobilise others?
What resources do we have available?
Investigate what else is on offer and join forces with other organisations.
Are there any other Christians on the estate? We need to partner with other faith organisations.
How does the community feel about 'Church' and faith in general?
How can church engage with serious issues like drug abuse etc With whom can we network?
Legal responsibilities over space. We would need to think about the responsibilities which come with hosting and feeding and accomodating.
Lack of a voluntary workforce.
Battling negative views of church.
Meeting the people where they are at and not enforce models upon them.
Suspicion. We will need to deal with attitudes and prejudices.
Estate's low expectations. They might expect that your aim will be short-lived and you'll move on when the frustrations come.
If we church plant abroad, we reasearch the cultural differences and engage with these. We need to be equally attentive to cultural differences within our own country which is full of sub-cultures. One way of being church will not suit. Church needs to be culturally relevant.
See Donovan on church planting.
See Mission-shaped Church by the Church of England working group
We must not simply replicate existing models of church - we must proclaim the message afresh and in fresh ways.
There are a number of resources available on church planting, fresh expressions, emerging church...
We need to scatter the seeds of the gospel into the world? We need to pull people into Christian community? Either/or/both?
What resources/patterns of the early church do we hold on to?
How much do we change?
We need to embrace change with discernment.
Change IS a gospel imperative.
The Church has always said that God is constant and unchanging. God has become incarnate in Jesus Christ which was not his prior to incarnation. Is God modeling to us a dialectic which models constant character alongside change.
So what are the constants and where can we be flexible?
God calls us to repent and so we have to be engaged in change.
Because of the many cultures which reach into Christianity, we need to be aware that the things that we do might be contrary to the gospel in other cultures. We need to examine basic hermeneutical issues because telling the story of Jesus as the shepherd of sheep will mean nithing to people who live in the Arctic, for example who have no understanding of such a pastoral scene.
We need to be goverened by change for the gospel's sake.
We need to take the best evidence from elsewhere, hence the sort of research that Bob Jackson is doing is important. We need to base what we think on researched facts.