I have resisted telling our story for some time now as I feel, along with many others, that it’s too early to come to any conclusions about the emerging church.
I have pastored Baptist churches for over 35 years and have always tried to stay on the ‘cutting edge’ in terms of evangelism and church growth. Having tried all the ‘new’ ideas from Yonggi Cho to Wagner to Hybels and even Warren. I have been to all those places and studied hard. I have experienced a mini-revival in the last Baptist church I pastored have been to Pensacola and Toronto. So, you could say I have some experience.
I resigned from the last church at the end of 2000 and went on long service leave only to be confronted by the Lord in a dream which resulted in starting a new church from scratch with just 12 people.
We are now four years into it and some understandings have emerged. I must say that, having read most of the postings on your site and others, that there is not going to be a neat box for the emerging missional church to fit. Here is an overview of what the Lord has led us into:
We have tried to be not too radical but to actually take some old Biblical principles and tease them out and try to be relevant.
- “Every member a minister” – Less emphasis on “the Pastor” and more on every one ministering where God has placed. Discovering what Gifts and abilities each one has and then putting that to work in the community or at work or school.
It doesn’t sound too much different from the ‘sounds’ we have made in the past. However what we are trying to do is to make that work.
Now we have six different groups with leaders(who independently set themselves up) connecting with neighbours, at work in a shed on a farm etc. etc.
- “We don’t GO to church anymore” – Sure we meet on Sundays at 10am. Because that suits most people. We regard this meeting as the church’s sitting room. It is two to two and a half hours of worship, coffee and teaching.
We meet at local Club and sometimes have lunch together in the Bistro. We have met in the past in a Resort conference room. We have no intention of developing property and hope to develop more meeting rooms rather than a huge congregation in one place.
In the future(maybe) we will meet all together for a convention which will be for building one another and sharing stories to inspire people.
Our mission statement is very simple – His presence; Touching people; Changing lives. I could already share stories of how this is happening.
- “There no events calender” We do not invite anybody to anything as a corporate body. However people do invite others to their homes and small groups. We do meet with people for coffee etc. etc.
- “Keep it simple” There is a small leadership group, I am regarded as the leader and we do believe in all Apostolic gifts being exercised, but not necessarily in ‘Church’ meetings alone. People are free to baptise new believers and hold communion at their groups without me, and are free to pursue new ideas.
We believe in releasing and empowering people.
- “Relationship empowers ministry” We have spent a lot of time getting to know one another. That is why we encourage smaller groups spending time together. We believe that out of relationship we can then trust people to minister God’s Grace into peoples lives.
- “We are not the only church in town” Therefore we believe in supporting other churches and their ministries. If someone has an annual event that is doing a good job we support it by helping with personnel or by giving a cash donation.
We have a wide vision of church both in the City the nation and other nations. So, we have quite a support list at home and overseas.
- “Our leaders, including me, work at secular jobs as well as leading the church.”
This has developed into a much longer treatise than I set out to do. So I will stop here. As you can see from the above we are concentrating on mission rather than in house stuff. Hope this is helpful in adding the picture.
Kenn Kilah Caloundra CityHarvest