Current Denominations Fail at Connecting with Missional Churches?
A New Book from Allelon Publishing, edited by Len Hjalmarson & Brent Toderash, is survey of some of the latest and emerging churches across Canada. The book has been delayed and delayed but I finally snuck a copy out of the hands of one of the contributors.
I’m always a sucker for new Canadian made church surveys, they’re rare but invaluable for Canadian context ministry.
Half of the book was devoted to contributors taking a ‘fresh’ approach to the gospel message and church. The other half were re-freshing their current approach to church. I didn’t find the latter to be very interesting, but I do see it’s value.
The ‘fresh’ contributors were really interesting but I did notice one startling trend. If any, and I really mean ANY of these churches/communities approached a denomination, they’d ALL fail the current measuring stick.
Denominations are in flux between missional church and attractional church; how things were done and how culture around them is really existing. The discontinuity spills over when new church planters want denomination support yet can’t get approval because a) their ideas are too unknown, b) they can’t get a church to stake them because their ideas are too unproven, c) they are being measured with old paradigm sticks.
Typically support for a church plant happens if and only if they can prove ‘fruit’. In Fresh +reFresh, the established missional communities all fail the ‘fruit’ category because it’s not easily measurable; they choose to measure transformations over decisions.
They’d also fail because they don’t grow fast enough, the communities are in year 3-10, and the largest one was around 50? To a denomination that’s too small, and small is a failure if it remains small after 2-3 years.
There is hope, however. Only a minor adjustment of posture and time need to be adopted to the current paradigms of churches and denominations alike. The posture is not to suggest we need to ‘disciple’ the nations while simultaneously maintaining an attractional/consumer posture in the church community. The second is to extend time expectations. What took a Sunday revival meeting in the past will take SEVEN YEARS in the current culture.
Those two elements will adjust expectations and in fact help current Christian bodies to effectively release their leaders into the community to be the hands and feet of Jesus.