If you ever will find yourself in the situation where you’re about to start a new church (you never know, that day might actually come), one of the questions you (hopefully) will face is – what kind of church do we want to see grow out of all this? Its an important question to ask, as much church planting that has been done in the past has been cloning existing forms and patterns, rather than taking the opportunity to think in new ways. “Copy and paste” isn’t always the best church planting method. Even if it can be quite convenient. Some people say that this is one of the reasons why the many church planting initiatives in England in the 90’s failed. Michael Moynagh has written an interesting article about this. Stuart Murray’s book Church after Christendom is also well worth a read. And while you’re at it, why not have a look at Alan Hirsch’s The Forgotten Ways. The problem when attempting to copy and clone is that it doesn’t necessarily work in the context. The seed planted isn’t able to develop any roots in the soil, so to speak, because its the wrong seed for that particular soil. 

Its not uncommon that us Swedes look across the Atlantic for inspiration in these matters, and we’re mesmerized by the many large “mega churches” that have mushroomed in the last decades or so. Church growth = mega church (For you who can read Swedish, have a look at Richard Hultmar’s post about this, as he’s reporting from the EFK/InterAct’s annual pastors conference). What we tend to forget is that North America is a very different context than Europe. “If we built it (big), they will come”, rarely works over here. There’s a few examples of successful larger churches in Sweden, but most of us simply cannot do it – it doesn’t work in our context, and we’re swallowed up in church programs, administration, and the like. The focus also easily becomes “getting the church grow big”, rather than being salt and light and good news outside the church walls. Inward focus, rather than outward focus.

I’ll be blogging a bit more about this, but in the meanwhile check out this post by TallSkinnyKiwi, interesting stuff.

Part 2
Part 3