You haven’t heard a lot from me so for this year. That’s mostly because I’ve been working on selling my adult colouring book (it’s been a tough slog to get it into Christian bookstores, particularly in the USA, if you are a retailer let me know and I can get you your discount). I have also revisited and committed to finishing my book that I started in 2015. If you know any writers, or you do a some writing yourself, then you know it’s dangerous to leave ideas dormant for an extended period of time–they might leave you for good. I’m close to the point where ‘Adventures in Saving the Dying Church’, needs to be finished or I’ll forget what it was I was doing to begin with….

The exciting news is the launch of a new church plant called Cypher Church. This is something really exciting to me, but it’s also interesting to the broader church planting world as well for a variety of reasons. There are a number of ‘firsts’ in this church plant. I use ‘firsts’ in brackets because I can’t be completely certain, (after all nothing is new under the sun), but here is a list of some unique aspects we’re trying out.

  • I say ‘we’ since Cypher Church is being co-lead by myself and my friend Connie Jakab.
  • There are exceptionally few churches being led by women in Canada. This will be one. There are also exceptionally few church plant lead by a non-white male. That would be me (although I’m not sure what the latter means…).
  • Speaking of denomination, this is a non-denominational endeavour, as is CMC, my first plant. That’s not entirely by design, but mostly it is. Both Connie and I are affiliated with denominations, her more so than I. Connie’s with the PAOC, I’m Vineyard by designation (although none of them know so don’t say anything.) We do have relational ‘oversight’, but that’s purely by relationship.
  • The church plant is specifically for the ‘nones’. few church plants are targeted to the ‘nones’. Most are usually church transplants, sent off with a critical mass of people for stability (in excess of 100 people). Most church plants also grow by transfer growth and by re-attracting the almost ‘dones‘ with a cool service. Our target is by relationship first, and that takes us into an urban context–specifically to the hip-hop community. There will be a VERY interesting mix (we don’t entirely know) that will float around 50% ‘nones’ and 40% ‘dones’ at an event (service). That mix at a service is rare.
  • The idea has been floating around for a couple of years, but it actually came together around Christmas. So we put together a church plant in under two months. It helps that I’ve done this before. It also helps neither of us are doing this in a traditional way (service every week, require full salary, etc.). Because we approach church planting differently (not service centered) it gives us the chance to do something unique, pioneer a new path, and learn as we go with relatively low risk. Yes, we’d both love to have full-time work in a church plant, but outside of church transplants this is probably never going to happen (for us or anybody else in Canada). [If you want to support us and the unique stuff that we’re attempting, you can do that to just be getting in touch on the contact page.]
  • In Calgary, I’m pretty sure a hip-hop church has never been done. I’m not saying this is a hip-hop church, but part of the gathering (service/worship) will take on a new Gospel/hip-hop/artist feel. I don’t have all the details since we want to see where this organically goes, but let’s just say there won’t be a Hillsong/Bethel song in the mix, so instantly it lacks a certain appeal to consumer Christians looking for the next cool thing.
  • The fundamental identity piece is Gospel–we’re trying to offer an experience of the Gospel to those who’ve never had a taste. We’re also calling everyone, Christian or not, into a deeper identity in Jesus. Not more, but deeper. That has to be the critical piece to our church or we’ll just be another church plant doing a cool service to be….cool.
  • There are a few folks who are core people in this launch, but I figure we’ll need more, and those people have yet to come to the fold, so if you could pray for us.

So that’s the update of this new plant in Calgary, but also an attempt that may add some additional insight to the repertoire of pioneering church plants. I’ll keep you posted on any developments, and again, please pray for us when you get a chance.