Plant, struggle, collapse?

Hi, welcome to our virtual coffee shop. Pull up a chair, take the load of your feet. Let’s chat.

So who are you, where you from, what do you do in life?
I’m John. I’m an average kinda of guy whose life got turned around with this emerging church stuff.

Can I get you a drink? Cappucino, earl grey, dandelion and burdock, pale ale?
Pale ale sounds smashing, thanks.

Would you like a doughnut or pastry to go with that?
It’s an unusual combination, but hey, why not?.

So, if you had to describe the church/project/experiment/thingy you are currently involved with in one sentence, what would that sentence be?
We’re a normal, dull, quite possibly dying church, with a few excited people running themselves into the ground to creat something that actually *means* something.

Are you an instigator? / new recruit? / have absolutely no recollection of how you got involved?
An instigator, but with friends who wanted to instigate too. We visited a few places we’d heard about, looked at a lot of websites. Borrowed a whole lot of ideas. Put in an awful lot of work. Created something wonderful.

What do you value most about being part of it?
It’s made ‘church’ something we can be for real and (dare I say it) enjoy, rather than dread every sunday.

What excites you most about it?
The enormous potential this has.

Has anyone ever turned up out of the blue not knowing what to expect?
What did they say?

This is what I really wanted to say – people don’t come. We don’t get support from our parent church – they think we’ll grow out of it. Our friends just don’t want to know about anything that’s to do with church. And we’re a bit scared about and unsure as how to invite people we don’t know – we’ve been in the local paper, we’ve done posters and postcards… what next?

It feels like we’re slogging our guts out creating this wonderful thing for just the few of us. And I mean few – sometimes just 3 or 4. This just isn’t going to last – we’ll all collapse of exhaustion sooner or later. I’m beginning to think this emerging church thing is just for those who are lucky enough to have someone ordained looking after it. The rest of us plant, struggle to sprout, but ultimately aren’t fed. I bet we’re not alone – I’ve heard of lots of groups starting off with a blast of excitment and then collapse because you just can’t do this stuff without some serious support. What happens then? There’s no going back to life BE (before emerging). But I do wonder if that’s the reason why churches stay in the safety zone – it’s the only real way to survive without serious support.

Three words that describe your attitude to ‘being church’ in the big wide world: Hope, struggle, collapse? (we hope not)

Three words that DON’T:
Stay at home (but for how long?)

You have this weird dream – you meet Jesus face to face.
Where does it happen, what does he say to you?

I’m tired, sit down with me.

What’s the big secret you’re itching to share with everyone?
We’re not quite ready to give up just yet – something propels us on (we hope it’s the Spirit!)

What would your ’emerging church survival kit’ contain?
Please, somebody send us one!

Anything else you’d like to share with us before you have to rush off?
This thing is amazing, but can it last?

Thanks. Good to see you. Have a good day!