These are notes from a workshop by Nick Brotherwood & Ryan Sim at VCP 2012.
- Missional Listening Workshop Slides (PDF)
- Missional Listening Exercise Questions (PDF) to be answered based on a demographic segment from this handbook.
Nick Brotherwood is currently Interim Priest in Charge, St. Mary’s, Kirkland; Priest in Charge, St. Luke’s, Hemmingford & Trinity, Havelock; and Bishop’s Missioner for Reimaginging Church & Natural Church Development. He was team leader of fresh Expressions Canada from 2008-2016. Nick is married to Sue, lives in Montreal, and has six children and seven grandchildren!
Church of England consultant, Ven. Bob Jackson, proposes an answer to his own question in a recent paper.
“Once upon a time we thought we knew what church was and how to measure it. Church happened when we gathered in a consecrated building for a public act of worship with a priest on a Sunday. So we measured the size of the church by the number of people who attended the public act of worship. Until the year 2000 we counted ‘Usual Sunday Attendance’, and since then we’ve also used ‘Average weekly attendance in October’, including weekdays.
But attendance & electoral roll measures have never done full justice to what we think church really is. So today I want to pose the deeper questions: ‘What is church?’ & ‘How do we measure it?’”
The first Fresh Expressions Vision Day in Saskatchewan!
The Regina Vision Day on Saturday February 25th 2012, 9.30am-3.30pm, will take place at-
All Saints Anglican Church
142 Massey Road
Regina SK, S4S 4M9
For more details and to register click here.
The Missional Roadmap
February 2-4, 2012
Everything seems set for another high quality VCP conference in early February. The speaker (Dave Male from Cambridge UK) has booked his ticket, focussed and practical workshops are falling into place, and registration is up and running on the website. There is even an early bird rate of 10% off the full price if you register by the end of this month. Full details are on the VCP website here.
Instead of the usual Tuesday through Thursday time slot, the conference this year runs from Thursday through Saturday (February 2-4), to make it more possible for lay people to attend. Workshops on the Saturday will concentrate strongly on equipping teams for mission. There is also a special rate of $65 for those who can only attend on the Saturday.
“But,” you say, “I’m not thinking of planting a new church. Why would I come?” One reason is that the principles of church planting in a post-Christendom age—thinking missionally, learning to discern where God is at work, creating vision, team building—are applicable to any church that wants to be revitalized and move ahead in mission.
But the theme is also a reminder that there are segments of our society which will never be reached by existing churches, however warm and welcoming. The hope is that some fresh expressions of church will do more than reach out to new people and draw them back into existing churches, valuable though that is, but that they will over time grow into self-sustaining new churches.
It’s the “mixed economy.” As Archbishop Johnson said recently, “Missional focus, that is what we are about. . . . moving towards a mixed-economy church, a healthy inherited church alongside new church plants and fresh expressions, new ways of doing things.
So the conference is really for anyone interested in the church health and growth—and that will be worked out in many ways, one expression of which will be new churches.
You will find all the details on the VCP website here. Hope to see you there!
Today saw the launch of the first two in a series of podcasts featuring all of the plenary sessions and some of the workshops from this year’s Vital Church Planting Conferences. Each month another set of podcasts will be posted on this site. Here are the details of the first set:-
Beth Fellinger’s two presentations One Size Does Not Fit All and Half Way is Only Half Way are available by clicking here.
Stephen Cottrell‘s workshop Fresh Expressions in the Sacramental Tradition with David Harrison, is available by clicking here.
To make sure you do not miss future podcasts click here and subscribe.
July/August. High summer. Hot days with high humidity leaves a body feeling listless. Makes it hard to focus on kingdom priorities. What to do? Fight it? Stay only in an air conditioned environment? Or realise it’s part of summer in Canada and it definitely won’t last forever? After all, as Ecclesiastes says, “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.” (3.1-8 TNIV)
So what is summer the time for? In many cultures it’s harvest time. For some of us here it still is. For others it means school’s out, summer jobs, summer camps, perhaps some holidays with family, a little travel maybe. A change in the tempo of life allows us to be a little more reflective than at other times of the year. Time, maybe, to look at the priorities that have dictated the rhythm of the rest of the year. Whose priorities have I been pursuing? My own, or the priorities of the Kingdom, Jesus’ priorities? That’s a tough question, because as a follower of Jesus I would like to think that my priorities and Jesus’ are one and the same. For most of the year in the rough and tumble of a reasonably busy life, and without much time for reflection, the question usually goes unanswered. So when the tempo slows for a couple of months, what am I going to do with this time that I could use (if I so chose) to try and answer it.
It seems pretty clear that Jesus’ priority for us is disciple making. Making the kind of disciples who obey all that Jesus has taught us. Now I find it much easier to agree with all that Jesus taught us than to actually obey it. It seems that Jesus is really not interested in people who merely agree with him: he actually wants us to put his teaching into action. Why else would he end his major teaching sessions in both Matthew and Luke with the cautionary tale of two house builders?
In the old days, when sound recordings were made on two inch wide magnetic tape, using sixteen or thirty-two track tape machines, each day the sound engineer had to realign the recording heads of the machines so that the different tracks were synchronised. If they didn’t do this banal task, the recordings made would be out of phase with the ones made the previous day and the work would be wasted. Summer gives us the opportunity, both individually and as members of communities of followers of Jesus to re-calibrate, to re-align ourselves and our communities with the values and priorities of the Kingdom.
Unfortunately, disciple making is not a quick and easy pursuit. It is better thought about in terms of the whole of life and lifelong discipleship of Jesus. We never graduate from being a disciple: we will be forever learning, forever striving to become more like the one we follow. Discipleship is not a program, nor a course—though both of these can be helpful—but it describes the relationship between us and the one we follow. So even though knowledge, understanding, and wisdom are necessary, they cannot exist apart from the discipleship relationship if we are to be able to claim that we are followers of Jesus. It is the extent to which we are becoming like Jesus that seems to matter in the Kingdom.
Now, all this introspection could easily become morbid and depressing. The Apostle Paul helpfully provides the perspective that lifts the weight from our shoulders, when he expresses his confidence “that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Yes, we are very much God’s work in progress, so it’s never all down to me. Rather, we are expected to cooperate with God’s work in us and not obstruct it.
So, how about using some of this down time (if indeed we have some) to do some realigning, to test ourselves, to see if our lives are “in line with the truth of the gospel,” and if we find there has been some “slippage” to make some course corrections and attempt to get back on track?
Fredericton Vision Day on Saturday November 26th, St. John’s Parish Centre, Anglican Parish of Douglas and Nashwaaksis.
click here to register.
Regina Vision Day on Saturday February 25th 2012.
All Saints Anglican Church
142 Massey Road
Regina SK, S4S 4M9
More details to follow.
In an article in the April edition of Niagara Anglican Online, Dr. John Bowen, (Wycliffe College‘s Professor of Evangelism and Director of the Institute of Evangelism,) makes the case for starting new forms of church in our post-Christendom context.
Time to start new churches
By John Bowen
Published: April 2011
If church attendance is declining, what should be our response? Start new churches, of course!
If that seems counter-intuitive, consider the following:
- One reason churches decline is that populations move, and churches do not move with them. What about new churches for new population centres?
- There is clear evidence that there are more “new Christians” in new churches than in older churches. There is something that makes a new church more readily accessible to someone who is exploring faith.
- New churches are nimble—like young children—and able to adapt to newcomers, new cultures and new demands more readily than older churches which often suffer from structural and cultural arthritis.