what is church planting and why does it matter?
characteristic features. Word and sacrament are balanced and explicitly
however . . .
Hindsight exposes some weaknesses in the Breaking New Ground
understanding of `church'. The vast majority of that report describes what
church does, but it is weak on the nature, design and purpose of church.
It was a functional description of what a `church plant' needed to do in
order to establish itself, and lacked reference to mission identity or
practice. All too often this functional approach to church planting `this
is what you do' has led to the planting of non missionary churches that
unsurprisingly have failed to thrive.
Planting is a process, but unless and until the kingdom and
the mission are in the DNA of the seed of the church, what
is planted will prove to be sterile. If mission is not located
within the identity of church, planting is very unlikely to
words to describe varieties of
A number of phrases have been coined since the early 1990s as a way of
describing `new' types or styles of church. These include:
New forms of church, a phrase that suggests that the inner essence
of church does not change it is only the external face that alters.
New ways of being church is more radical language. It considers
that the word ekklesia has been wrongly interpreted to mean simply
`congregation', so that attendance has replaced discipleship,
membership has replaced community, and internal functions have
been prioritized over both evangelism and social involvement. Those
using this phrase are suggesting that church should be an embodiment
of the patterns and priorities of the New Testament, lived out in our
Emerging church stems back to Robert Warren's mid 1990s work
Building Missionary Congregations
and Being Human, Being Church.
Emerging suggests an evolutionary, Spirit led process, and the phrase
is a helpful reminder that church needs to emerge from engagement