mission shaped church
plan or discern?
Breaking New Ground stated that:
Planting is normally part of long term diocesan planning in partnership
with the deanery concerned . . .
The desire for relational consultation and partnership, beyond the
independent activity of single entrepreneurial large churches, is still healthy.
However, two other factors have revealed the inadequacy of this strategy:
It is a rare diocese that has any long term plan for planting churches with
which a mission minded local church could cooperate.
Practitioners working at the edge of the Church are more in favour of
planting as a response to what has happened when/where the good
news in Christ has been sown in a culture, people group or local area.
Some prefer to talk of sowing the gospel and seeing what results.
The response shapes the form of Christian community. It is more
like a process of discerning the prior action of God. As such it is an
outcome of the instinct that
Ecclesiology is a subsection of the doctrine of mission.
Planning for predetermined outcomes is legitimate but no longer
primary. A mission informed response, rather than a structural initiative,
is now seen as authentic. Much that now happens is ad hoc and not
officially planned it is `pre official'.
wider church developments
As part of the preparation for this report, the working group initiated a
survey of dioceses. The outcomes of that survey helped set the agenda
for the shape and content of Mission shaped church.
The survey gave dioceses the opportunity to identify particular issues
or areas of concern. There was a general request for guidance on
straightforward good practice. Leadership, both local and diocesan, was
seen as crucial, along with ongoing training, support and mentoring.
The survey showed that organized record keeping of church plants and
fresh expressions of church is sketchy, with a few exceptions. We will