CHURCH PLANTING & Plant doesn’t have a building, only a cellphone app, linking members to church’s many parts: house groups, Taco Truck, roadside Ash Wednesday service, etc.

Commentary by Prof. B.: Having planted a church and coached perhaps hundreds of others, I believe that the current planting models are often overly dependent upon expensive strategies. Therefore I welcome this case study of a church with many ministries but no building. Instead they link the community to its many activities via a cell phone app. I coach a nearby church to this one and the pastor there told me that she thought this new model of church planting would be expanded through out her diocese (she is a bishop). Here is the article written by an editorial board at Duke University on this potentially replicable church planting model.

Church has no walls but many doors, accessible to seekers and skeptics

by Leadership & Faith Editorial Board, Duke University, 1/31/18.

…Taco Church was part of the newly launched St. Isidore Episcopal, a “church without walls” focused on small group discipleship and community service. The church didn’t have a building, and it didn’t want one, Steele said. Instead, it had a cellphone app, linking members to the church’s many parts.

As Steele explained, St. Isidore was one church embodied in many different ways. It wasn’t just Taco Church. It would eventually become three house churches, a pub theology group, a free laundry ministry, a food truck and more. It was all quite unorthodox, except the liturgy and theology, which were decidedly Episcopalian.

The Rev. Sean Steele leads Ash Wednesday services for commuters in a Houston suburb.

… This Easter, a little over a year after his first Taco Church, Mraz and his 6-year-old son were baptized in a service he helped organize as a member of the St. Isidore leadership team.

Finding new possibilities

As many mainline Protestant churches shrink and shutter across the United States, St. Isidore is finding new possibilities by marrying a denomination’s traditions with a decentralized structure drawn from the emergent-church playbook. It’s a mission church and “research and development” effort launched by Trinity Episcopal Church, a 1,500-member parish in The Woodlands, a suburb north of Houston.

“I am not trying to do something old in a new way; I am trying to do something brand-new in the old way,” said Steele, the entrepreneurial 38-year-old priest behind the experiment. “Many [church planters] feel they need to jettison the tradition. I actually think we need to be more church, not less.”

Steele holds tightly to Episcopal liturgy even as he brings it into novel settings such as breweries and laundromats. St. Isidore is aimed not just at unorthodox places, he said, but also at unorthodox people, like the formerly Daoist chicken farmer who now runs the pub theology group.

“I’m trying to think about the people who aren’t going to a church on a Sunday morning,” Steele said. “I’m not interested in getting Christians that are already Christian.”

St. Isidore (link is external) is a church with many entry points, many thresholds that even seekers and skeptics can easily cross, Steele said. St. Isidore is the patron saint of the internet (link is external) — part of the glue that holds Steele’s church together — and, as Steele likes to joke, the saint’s name conveys what the church is about: “It … is a door.”

What are the thresholds to your church? How can they be made easier to cross?

The Rev. Gerry Sevick, the rector at Trinity (link is external), hired Steele straight out of seminary in 2012 with the understanding that he would eventually plant a new church or start a missional community.

“There’s a population out there hungry for spirituality and hungry for a community of faith,” Sevick said. “While they’re skeptical about a traditional church, they are willing to explore an alternative way of being church…”

A St. Isidore member invites drivers to the roadside Ash Wednesday service. 

Church for the unchurched

…Starting in January 2015, Sevick gave Steele 10 hours a week to focus on research, dreaming, planning and working with a church-planting coach — a luxury possible perhaps only at a large multi-staff parish.

That March, a lay staff member mentioned half-jokingly that she wanted to do outreach with a free food truck. Steele jumped at the idea and started the fundraising; the food truck manufacturer became a major contributor.

The first ministry group, Pub Theology, began as an experiment in August 2015. Like similar gatherings nationwide, it attracted an eclectic mix of believers and nonbelievers across several generations. Some of them also joined other St. Isidore activities as they launched, while some just came out for the Tuesday night beer-and-discussion gatherings.

Taco Church began around the same time after Steele noticed that the group of guys he encountered at his neighborhood gym every day often shared surprisingly intimate conversations. He saw a community of trust and mutual interest that felt sort of like church.

Steele asked whether they would be interested in getting up an hour early on a Wednesday to meet across the street at Taco Bell.

“We’ll just start gathering together and praying together, and we’ll see how it unfolds,” he told them.

Four guys showed up the first time. Steele wanted to help the men recognize that their community already was blessed and that they could set it apart as sacred. Now about 10 men gather each Wednesday, including a lawyer, an event promoter and a dishwasher who was homeless for two years before he found housing with Steele’s help.

After working through a series of check-in questions, the group studies a parable. They share wisdom across generations, poke fun at each other and break bread — specifically, breakfast tacos and some Chick-fil-A sandwiches sneaked in for variety.

A few months in, one of the members asked the others where they attended church…

House churches, empowering laity

In the fall of 2015, Steele interviewed more than a dozen families from Trinity and elsewhere to find the group that would form the first house church. They began meeting in October to talk about core values and how to lead house churches. From the beginning, he wanted to empower lay leaders, whom he said churches often render impotent.

After St. Isidore was officially commissioned in January 2016, the first house church, aimed at families with young children, began meeting at the Steeles’ home. A second house church launched the following month. For several months, people would visit but not stick around. Steele, though, was patient.

Read more at … https://www.faithandleadership.com/church-has-no-walls-many-doors-accessible-seekers-and-skeptics?utm_source=NI_newsletter&utm_medium=content&utm_campaign=NI_feature

Speaking hashtags: #Kingwood2018 LEAD 558 multiplication

MULTIPLICATION & 4 Methods for Becoming a Mixed Economy Church #video

Commentary by Prof. B.: My students in Transformational Leadership have the opportunity to hear in Oxford the author of this article, Michael Moynagh, personally explain the shared economy strategy of the Fresh Expression Movement.  Read this article for a good introduction.  First is a lengthy video followed by a short article.

(Drawing from his experiences, both as the Director of Research for Fresh Expressions and as Editor of Share–a collection of resources out of the Fresh Expressions phenomena–the Rev. Dr. Michael Moynagh (based at Wycliff Hall, Oxford) shared with assorted members of the Trinity community the impact that this, more than 10 year pioneering movement continues to have throughout the United Kingdom; April 11, 2013)

A Mixed Economy?

by

It’s easy to go through life, only interacting with people just like themselves. For many churches is no different.

There is a growing need for churches that are a “mixed economy.” These churches thrive be on creating opportunities for old and new expressions of the church to be a blessing to each other. The term was coined by Rowan Williams. The Fresh Expressions UK Website likens the mixed economy to the Eucharist itself, saying:

Just as the pieces of broken bread – in their different shapes and sizes – belong to the one loaf, we see that in all our diversity we belong to each other because we each belong to the one body of Christ.

Phil Potter, Team Leader of Fresh Expressions UK has likened the ‘mixed economy church’ to rivers and lakes. Rivers flow, bubble with energy and bring new water into lakes. Lakes are deeper and more tranquil. Just as rivers and lakes need each other, new forms of church flow into the existing Church and are enriched by its depth and traditions.

Four Methods that Mix Things Up

In some cases, a mixed economy church develops when new believers have a blended church experience. They attend both a fresh expression and an established church. There is nothing in the Bible to say that you can’t belong to two local churches! Rather than consumerism, this is about commitment – to more than one Christian community.

Shared events between an established church and a fresh expression can also lead to the development of a mixed economy church. The two communities can share social events, study groups, short courses, outreach or occasional acts of worship. Both will have a richer church life for having shared together.

One place to start might be for a fresh expression to look out for opportunities to serve its parent church. Might it provide the refreshments for a church study day, for example? There is nothing like loving kindness to open others’ hearts.

A third expression of the mixed economy occurs when emerging Christians connect to the church at large. This can happen through events run by local churches together, or through regional and national conferences and training events, or through accessing Christian resources and making connections online.

Fourthly, the mixed economy develops when new Christian communities cluster together. In an English cathedral city, a small team hosts a monthly Sunday breakfast for people in the neighborhood who don’t attend church. Up to 60 have crammed into a house!

The Birth of a Mixed Economy Church

Picture this:

A house is crammed with people who do and don’t have a church. They’ve gathered around the breakfasts are other events, such as ice cream parties in the summer and hot chocolate parties in winter.

These individuals start to ask questions about spirituality and faith, they are invited to a weekly meeting at which the core team eats together, plans, prays and studies the Bible. If a person enjoys it, they are invited to join the team.

Within two or three years, the team grew from 8 to 18 people. It multiplied into two cells. The cells meet from time to time.

Now, picture the same scene after five years:

Some of the cells will no longer be new. They will represent an established church. As new cells keep being added and cluster with these older cells, they will give birth to….a mixed-economy church!

If you lead a fresh expression, keep connecting to the wider body! Existing churches may be refreshed and energized by the new life you bring. Your fresh expression may be deepened by the wisdom and experience of established churches.

It can be win-win for everyone.

Visit or Host a Fresh Expressions Vision Day Near You!

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Read more at …. http://freshexpressionsus.org/2014/10/13/four-methods-for-becoming-a-mixed-economy-church/

DMin #DMin #TransformationalLeadership #GCRN GCRN

MULTIPLICATION CASE STUDY & A Multi-site “Alliance” Model … That Creates Unity in Diversity!

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel:  One of my students found an excellent example of a church that employs:

1)   multiple worship venues for evangelistic diversity in worship,

2)   while at the same time offering a common foyer area that promotes intercultural interaction before and after worship.

Multi Venue One Foyer 2This floor plan is an example of a “one type” of multicultural church called the “Multicultural Alliance Church” (see “Five Models of Multicultural Churches” in Whitesel, The Healthy Church, pp. 62-76).  It is an “alliance” of several culturally different congregations (Builder Generation, Boomer Generation, Gen. X-Millennial Generation, etc.) that worship differently but share the same building to pool their assets.

Because the purpose of worship is to draw close to God, not a time for fellowship between humans … such floor plans make theological and evangelistic sense.  According to the Hebrew word shachah, worship is “a close encounter with a king which fosters in reverence, respect and praise” (Whitesel, ORGANIX: Signs of Leadership in a Changing Church. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2011., p. 96).

This is from their website: “At the Little Rock campus, we have three venues from which you can choose – Worship Center, the Warehouse or Chapel. Each of these venues offers a different worship style but has the same teaching. The Worship Center is our largest venue and provides a rich blend of hymns and contemporary worship and most often hosts the live teaching. The Warehouse worship experience incorporates many contemporary elements and takes place in our Warehouse. The Chapel is our most traditional worship experience, which has hymns, communion and other elements that engage the more traditional worshipper.” Fellowship Bible Church, Little Rock, AR (http://www.fellowshiponline.com/get-connected/locations/detail/little-rock/).  You can download a copy here: Campus Overview.2333917034_463d798f2d

Take a look at these floor plans. They can inspire you to create multiple venues in one congregation or location that will not only multiply evangelistic relevance … but unity among diversity too.