some methodologies for a missionary church
belong? This dimension can be described as the DEPTH of the plant. What
strength is in reserve?
The history and instincts of the Church of England mean that issues
connected with the parish boundary have loomed large in previous
considerations of church planting. Territory has been important in order
to define responsibility. It has helped fix a sense of belonging and also
guaranteed diversity ensuring that the ethos and traditions of
neighbouring Anglican churches are not unfairly eroded by competition
However, concern for parish boundaries needs to be considered in the light
of the mission context in which the Church now finds itself. The `Who with?'
question comes third after the `Who for?' and `Who by?' questions. In
deciding what kind of church plant best suits people outside the Christian
faith, it is not appropriate to begin with issues about internal parochial
organization. Where non parish boundary or cross parish boundary mission
is contemplated, early consultation is to be commended. But the mission
imperative needs to flavour and guide those consultations.
Support and partnership are important. Partners make a difference they
give strength in depth, and they are part of the overall nurture of the plant.
Breaking New Ground suggested four different categories of church plant.
Although these categories are often used to label different types of plant,
they are, in fact, an attempt to describe some of the relationships with
sending church that are possible. They describe how to be mission
partners, not the mission goals.
These are so named after the habit of, for example, a strawberry plant,
which sends out a shoot nearby. They root and grow a fresh plant and,
eventually, the biological link the runner withers.
What are `Runners' like?
They are started within, and remain within, a parish.
There are close
links and usually support from the sending church.
The chosen meeting place falls within the parish. No other Anglican
church is directly involved.
Usually the team that is sent is fewer than 50 people but greater than
The process can be easily repeated as long as there are further definite
areas to go to and people willing to be sent.