some methodologies for a missionary church
and don't want to go. Sensitive survey work can help to grow an
understanding of the proportions of these two groups that might be
encountered. Anecdotal evidence will also exist in a prospective planting
team through their knowledge of their networked group of friends.
Most current evangelistic strategies have most impact among the de
churched. Most church members only know how to do evangelism with the
de churched. Working with the non churched means starting much `further
back', and expecting to have to work for far longer in building aspects of
community before seeing results in terms of any spiritual interest. Stories
that illustrate both the difficulties and encouragements of developing
church among the non churched can be found in the series from the
Church Army's Sheffield Centre, `Encounters on the Edge'.
is it for a specific cultural group?
`Culture' does not just apply to ethnic groups. It is relevant to the creation
of (for example) generation specific churches, or church for deaf people.
It could be a dimension of work among the homeless, or church for the
shut in elderly. Some towns and cities are ethnically very diverse, but
across the country there are many varieties of non ethnic culture, class
and lifestyle. The phrase `unreached people groups' is used in the context
of overseas missions, but a similar phenomenon exists in the UK non
churched groups of people and cultures with little or no connection with
the gospel or with church.
Within the Church Growth movement, Dr Ralph Winter has devised terms
for three different types of cultural gap that may need to be bridged:
E1 Extension Growth. This involves planting churches among those
who don't go to church, but are of an identical culture to the sending
church. One example is St Philip's Church in East Kent, started by Holy
Trinity, Margate, on a freshly built middle class housing estate.
E2 Bridging Growth 1. This represents planting among people of
related culture. For example, the same Margate parish created `Harvest
New Anglican Church'. This is based on network evangelism and cell life,
and meets in a school. Its style meant it was more able to cross English
E3 Bridging Growth 2. This is planting in a distanced culture, such as
among a different language group, or for adherents of another world
religion. An example of this kind of venture is Holy Trinity, Hounslow,
which reopened St Paul Hounslow in the early 1990s, sending the vicar
and a mixed race team to try to reach out to its large Asian community.