Three “parties” to mission understanding and strategy

The Big Picture – the three ‘parties’

All mission engagement requires attention to three foundational factors that should shape mission responses. These three components are essential to be understood for existing churches but even more important in pioneering mission and planting fresh expressions of church. Continue reading “Three “parties” to mission understanding and strategy”

Three mission responses

In seeking to lead a church into a more missional quality, it can be helpful to recognise that there are three broad options. All can be effective, but wise leadership will assess which is appropriate for the stage of the church’s life and the context. Some contemporary literature may suggest that one or other is preferable but it is our contention that best practice involves selecting the right option based on these highly variable factors. Continue reading “Three mission responses”

Jesus’ four “streams” of Communicating the Kingdom of God

The Gospel accounts of the ministry of Jesus bring together how he “the Word” communicated the truths of God. We are used to thinking that truth is communicated verbally and in propositional statements. However, that by no means the only channel or stream of truth that we find in the New Testament. Continue reading “Jesus’ four “streams” of Communicating the Kingdom of God”

Three Streams of Missional/Ecclesial Multiplication

It is becoming widely accepted that the church has to go on a journey of change to respond to our changed context.  Most agree that the change must involve discipleship and becoming missional.

But there are all sorts of models and principles being strongly promoted. Our experience of involvement with many of these is that we need discretion and clear understanding of what is involved in each if they are to be implemented healthily. Continue reading “Three Streams of Missional/Ecclesial Multiplication”

The 3-Self Principle – Which end of the telescope?

It was Henry Venn, the CMS pioneer missionary who coined the 3-self principle for guiding the development of church plants, over a century ago.

He proposed the principle from his experience of taking the gospel to new cultures in other continents. His aim was to see the growth of indigenous faith communities that were neither shaped by the missionaries’ culture nor dependent on the mission agency’s ongoing resourcing. Continue reading “The 3-Self Principle – Which end of the telescope?”

Loyal Radicals

A while back a friend was going to address a large gathering of a historic denomination in another continent and called me on the phone for ideas as he was doing his preparation.

One of his questions was “What are the things that we observe that have most contributed to the beginnings of a “sea change” within the Church of England towards mission, Fresh Expressions and church planting?” Continue reading “Loyal Radicals”

Connecting the Centre to the Edge, Graham Cray

In Church After Christendom Stuart Murray-Williams has written that

“The brightest hope for church after Christendom is a symbiotic relationship between inherited and emerging churches. We need each other.”

We usually refer to that symbiotic relationship as the mixed economy: a complementary partnership between fresh expressions of church and inherited models of church. But it can be understood in other ways as well. At a recent conference in Germany, Bishop Steven Croft spoke of “connecting the centre to the edge” as one of the keys to the rapid growth of fresh expressions in the UK.  Continue reading “Connecting the Centre to the Edge, Graham Cray”

The Homogeneous Hot Potato

Over the years, one of the most complex and controversial issues in the field of Christian mission has been the Homogenous Unit Principle (or so called HUP). Partly this is because of its roots in the US ‘church growth’ language, but it is also because of some deeper theological reasons. In this article we want to unpack and explore some of these key issues. Continue reading “The Homogeneous Hot Potato”