We hope to see it featured soon in Net Results Magazine, North America’s most enduring and most trusted evangelism and church growth magazine. It is a wonderful resource, not only for church planters and church redevelopers, but for anyone seeking to be more effective in missional work. One of senior associate consultants, Mary Frances, was recently asked to be a senior writer for the magazine. If you haven’t already subscribed, we encourage you to check it out.
From time to time we like to bring you stories about faith communities engaging their communities in innovative and experimental ways.
Today’s FaithXperimental spotlight focuses on Q Commons – Baltimore, scheduled for October 25 from 7:00pm–9:00pm in Catonsville, Maryland, hosted by New Hope Community Church and St. Hilda’s Episcopal Church. The theme for this year’s Q Commons is “The Power of We: Healing a Divided Nation.”
Q Commons events are kind of like Christian TEDtalks. They bring together speakers from across the spectrum of faith and culture to talk about important ideas. They take place under the umbrella of Q Ideas,an organization started by a Gabe Lyons. Our friend Joe Miller, Lead Pastor of New Hope, was prompted to organize a Baltimore-area Q Commons because his heart was greatly pained by the many angry divisions that plague not only the church, but the nation and the world. In Joe’s words, his hope in hosting Q Commons is that “it will be just one small faithful step towards actually acting like we really are Christ’s one church. Because, as we read in Ephesians 4, the truth is that there has always only ever been one church.” [Read more…]
This is gonna be a short one. And many of my fellow church-planting colleagues may not like it.
But if a young clergyperson with aspirations of becoming a church planter came to me today and asked my advice about how to go about it, this would be my advice:
Why? Because the picture they have in their head about what a church looks like is some variation of the typical church model that Christian clergy and their congregants have been carrying around in our collective consciousness for more than hundreds, if not thousands of years.
It probably looks something like this…
A dedicated church building. On a dedicated church lot. With a dedicated clergyperson. And dedicated members.
Somebody recently asked me if we would still see churches like this in the future. My response was, “Only if it were stuffed and mounted and displayed in a museum of church archeology.”
Because this model of church is dead. Walking dead. But still dead. It is unsustainable. Because the way the trends are heading, there will simply not be sufficient numbers of Christians per worship center to keep it afloat, either financially or communally.
We are happy to announce that Mary Frances and Steve Matthews have joined with FaithX as senior associate consultants. Mary and Steve will be working alongside executive director and principal consultant Ken Howard in introducing MapDash for Faith Communities and Strategic Missional Consulting to dioceses and other judicatories around the United States. Mary and Steve are also co-developers of our Mentored Missional Journey program and will be occasional writers for our Faith eXperimental blog.
By Carlo Carretto
Ken has had family visiting this week and is prioritizing family time over blog posts. He hopes you will enjoy this excerpt from Carlo Carreto’s Letters From The Desert (one of Ken’s favorites passages).
How baffling you are, oh Church, and yet how I love you! How you have made me suffer, and yet how much I owe you! I would like to see you destroyed, and yet I need your presence. You have given me so much scandal and yet you have made me understand what sanctity is. I have seen nothing in the world more devoted to obscurity, more compromised, more false, and yet I have touched nothing more pure, more generous, more beautiful. How often I have wanted to shut the doors of my soul in your face, and how often I have prayed to die in the safety of your arms.
No, I cannot free myself from you, because I am you, though not completely. And besides, where would I go? Would I establish another? I would not be able to establish it without the same faults, for they are the same faults I carry in me. And if I did establish another, it would be my Church, not the Church of Christ. I am old enough to know that I am no better than anyone else. […]
The Church has the power to make me holy but it is made up, from the first to the last, only of sinners. And what sinners! It has the omnipotent and invincible power to renew the Miracle of the Eucharist, but is made up of men who are stumbling in the dark, who fight every day against the temptation of losing their faith. It brings a message of pure transparency but it is incarnated in slime, such is the substance of the world. It speaks of the sweetness of its Master, of its non-violence, but there was a time in history when it sent out its armies to disembowel the infidels and torture the heretics. It proclaims the message of evangelical poverty, and yet it does nothing but look for money and alliances with the powerful.
Those who dream of something different from this are wasting their time and have to rethink it all. And this proves that they do not understand humanity. Because this is humanity, made visible by the Church, with all its flaws and its invincible courage, with the Faith that Christ has given it and with the love that Christ showers on it.