i am on the e-mail list for the sheffield centre research bulletin. it's always onto something interesting. but each time you have to download a pdf and then get round to reading it. for bloggers like me if i find something interesting i often want to hyperlink directly to an article and when i download a pdf to read later i often forget. so following the last bulletin which was on larger churches and mission i sent a cheeky suggestion that they put the articles online as well as in a pdf. and to my delight and surprise they have done exactly that in the space of a couple of weeks. so there is now a sheffield centre research blog which links to the separate articles as well as the bulletin as a pdf. thank you for listening!
the summer issue explored larger churches and mission. i really hope this gets read by larger churches rather than those of us in smaller missional communities or whatever.
in his article george lings suggests that what is needed most is the nurturing of the following attitudes...
- Generosity to give away resources, believing it is more blessed to give than to receive.
- Humility to enquire what is needed in the new place, not assume we know already.
- Trust in the people, the word and the Spirit that renounces the tendency to control.
- Confidence to let diversity flourish, as churches best multiply through a bipartite process. Within it, the gospel embodied by a church engages with context, and this leads to non-identical reproduction. The next generation of churches will have our DNA but they are not us.
clare dalpra explores what maturity might look like in sending and sent churches and their independence or interdependence.
beth keith's article caught my attention the most (and yes i think i am probably in her fan club as i always seem to highlight any research she does). she discusses ethics and finds that where there is a tension between the practice of every day life and the church's stance young adults move on rather than finding a safe space to explore questions. she suggests...
The expression of faith embodied by the church was too rigid, too controlled and leader-led for many of the young adults I spoke to. Whilst this style of leadership in part contributed to the growth of the church, it left many people short changed over time. Perhaps a less controlled, multi-congregational approach which allowed for variation in belief and practice, would have enabled the members to move beyond the inflexible faith approved by the church, and in doing so create safe spaces for them to worship and explore.
there is actually a lot of discussion and interest in larger churches in the missional conversation - i think al hirsch for example is apeaking at the new wine leaders conference. there is a genuine desire to turn outwards in mission which has to be a good thing. if that's your interest you might like to dive into something like al roxburgh's introduction to the missional church which i reviewed here
the latest issue explores leadership succession . the overriding thing that comes through that is for pioneers starting something, think about succession and longevity now and not in 5 years time when you about to move on. stuart murray willimas shares some wisdom and clare dalpra makes some great suggestions which also highlight the challenge this poses within existing structures of ordained leadership
Once again, this proposed solution for leadership succession within fresh expressions seems at odds with ‘the system’ which is geared towards finding outside successive leaders for long-established churches. It’s a shame. Our young churches would certainly benefit from more realistic time frames, participation before application by potential successive outside leaders and ways of championing young churches who raise up successive leaders from within (rather than regarding them a strange anomaly). It’s a tall order with so many financial and ministerial pressures facing the wider church. No wonder we have a problem.
anyway have a browse and add this to your selection of feeds and so on....