glad to see mark pierson has started blogging. i have added his blog to my list and newsreader to follow along. he has also started an urban seed church plant and is posting how the journey goes under the heading an intuitive introvert's guide to starting a church. his starting place?...
how do you ‘start a church’? I have no idea...
...i’m uncomfortable with a clear plan as I want what we do to reflect the community we gather. so there won’t be one.
but it doesn't take long before there are a small team at work and a set of values/ethos developing that looks like this at the moment...
Urban Seed:church will:-
a. Make a deliberate and sustained effort to resource Christian spirituality among people who consider themselves to be post-modern or part of the emerging cultural milieu.
b. Exist only to sustain its community in following Christ in the world and actively decline to institutionalise that.
c. Cease to exist if at any point the gathered community no longer finds Urban Seed:church helpful. Programmes and projects that lack leadership or support will cease immediately no matter how important they are seen to be by others.
d. Shape everything it does according to the goal of ‘sustaining and resourcing Christian spirituality in the world’.
e. Provide a smorgasbord of resourcing events for its community but have low expectations of anyone as to attendance and participation at any event.
f. Create a fluid and liquid form of church and church life that is creative about how it resources Christian spirituality for groups and individuals within and outside its gathered community.
g. See it’s community in the broadest terms ie those connected by geography, interest, world wide web, occasional attendance, attendance at specific resourcing events.
h. Be committed more strongly to encouraging spiritual desire than meeting spiritual needs.
i. Encourage spiritual consumerism and a smorgasbord approach to nurturing Christian formation.
j. Understand that the ‘Sunday Worship’ event is only one element among many resources offered to them and to the wider community.
k. Assume in everything we do and say that someone listening/reading/observing/ participating doesn’t have the background to understand/participate fully without clear explanation and non-jargoned gender sensitive language.
l. Have a raw urban edge and feel to it. Be risk takers and boundary pushers in worship, mission and ministry. Be involved in the market place of work, leisure and the arts in the Melbourne CBD.
m. Strongly value and encourage the integration of creativity and the arts in all aspects of its life and worship.
n. Be trusting and strongly committed to artists in all fields of creative endeavour, looking for uncensored and non-controlling ways to have them use their gifts to communicate and interpret the message of the Gospel as they see it.
o. Be irrevocably committed to a model of worship curators, who would...
p. …enable multiple people to participate in leading elements of the set pattern of worship each week…
q. …constantly invite and encourage participation in leadership by any member of the community in any aspect of worship. Participation that is given authority as well as responsibility and which can literally shape the community. This includes ‘preaching’, which would be contained in the middle of the service of worship and not given elevation in significance above any other element of worship…
r. …expect that the ‘stuff’ of the everyday life and culture of membersn of the community will be incorporated into its worship ie music, movies, passions, hobbies, pastimes, stories, objects. Worship may not include singing and is more likely to include a recorded track by Tom Waits than Hillsong.
s. Shape its overall pattern of worship around the Christian Calender.
t. Draw on the best of historical and traditional practices of Christianity, reframing them for contemporary practice.
u. Encourage any one in the community to start any project, homegroup, small group, mission or ministry at any time without any hurdle or process beyond announcing that intention to the community.
v. Own and fund no programmes or projects beyond it’s worship and administrative life. Beyond this will be the responsibility of individuals and groups within the community who have the vision and Call to do something.
w. Appreciate beauty.
x. Be institutionally minimalist and actively committed to minimising institutional inertia…
y. …and therefore create structures only when they are deemed by the community to be needed, and in a form that best meets those needs at the time rather than follows traditional institutional expectations.
z. See no distinction between ‘clergy’ and ‘laity’ in authority or practice.
aa. Be committed to grace and listening.
bb. Not mind controversy or difference in dress, theology or perspective and encourage variety of opinion and expression in worship and all aspects of the life of the community.
cc. Provide a safe place for struggle, failure, and to be ones self.
dd. Be committed to exploring questions rather than giving answers. ‘Thinking allowed. Thinking aloud allowed.’
ee. Integrate awareness and response to issues of justice, ecology and politics into its worship and teaching/preaching.
ff. Have a high view of the Eucharist.
gg. Celebrate the Eucharist weekly.
hh. Be Christocentric. Theologically conservative at its core.
ii. Provide pastoral care and a range of ritual making services to its congregation and broader community.
jj. Put minimal pressure on any of its members to do or be anything or attend anything.
kk. Take seriously the demise of Christendom, and the postmodern, secularised multi-faith environment in which it and its people operate.
ll. Seek to party extremely well.
another person involved (who i don't know) is marcus who is also blogging. i loved his rewrite of shout to the lord which i am making worship trick 29 [second series]. he says this about why he rewrote it
Christian spirituality is more substantial than an emotional “pick me up” or any worship leading method. I thought it an appropriate way to start Urban Seed: church was to re-write some of the words to "Shout to the Lord" that pick up the themes of the other psalms that often don’t get a run in the dominant worship culture of our day; Psalms that acknowledge our failure, as well as the injustice and pain of our world and our own lives. That Shout at as well as to the Lord. (eg. Psalm 88)
it reminded me of my rewrite of men of faith as men of doubt. anyway marcus' rewrite...
Shout to the Lord (Angry)
(Lyrics: Marcus Curnow 2005)
Why Jesus? Why favour
Those who do not like you?
All of my years I cry bitter tears
I wonder where’s your mighty love?
No comfort, No shelter
Where is the refuge and strength?
Let every breath, all that I am
Never cease to question You
Shout to/(at) the Lord
All the Earth, let us bring
Rail at the King
Mountains fall down
And the seas will roar
Hear the sound of the pain
I long to see the work
Of your hand
Forever I’ll seek you
Seek to understand
Nothing to hold
But the promise I have