some methodologies for a missionary church
A third factor comes from the theology of Good News for the Oppressed.
Sociological study shows that, when two cultures are together in a social
context, a healthy heterogeneous mixture does not result one tends
to dominate the other. The culture of those with the educational and
economic power tends to come out on top. An attempt at diversity
Some think that the Church of England's broad failure to express church
within the culture of the urban poor is the chief reason why the Anglican
Church has seldom effectively reached them. Good news for the poor
is only truly good news when it empowers the poor or marginalized to
form their own communities of faith, in which indigenous people work
together for change and renewal. This resonates with the experience
of churches arising out of community projects and of Base Ecclesial
Thus some aspects of theology point to a culture specific social expression
of the gospel. Other aspects challenge us to build bridges of unity and
reconciliation between such groups. The answer may be to accept initial
cultural similarity while seeking gradual cultural diversity, expressed in
interdependence between groups unlike one another.
is mission about widening choice or increasing access?
One aim through planting is to increase choice for people who are not
drawn to any existing churches.
This could also be planting to increase
denominational choice, or it might be planting to increase the choice of
ecclesiastical tradition offered by a denomination.
The danger of the latter `choice' motive is that this is not really a mission
reason. Any church can easily become self satisfied or inward looking, and
lead to disunity and less overall effectiveness. However, if the creation of
more choice is planned, agreed and amicable, it can provide a better range
of churches, which together will suit a wider range of people, including
those not yet Christian.
Another planting aim can be to increase access planting more (not
different) churches, in order to make church easier to get to. Areas can
be cut off from existing church provision by roads, railways or hills.
Distances can be too far for convenience. Pram pushing distance is one
good measurement. However, the danger of only increasing access is that
more of the same kinds of church may not attract people who presently
ignore the existing types.