Thursday, February 19, 2009

Rural church planting, and a good question

Couple of new things on the SHARE (fresh expressions) website

church planting in the countryside (new article by Sally Gaze)

and a big question: asked by Jeremy Noles
I'm a passionate believer in Fresh Expressions - for example we're running Messy Church midweek, and in the space of a few months are now connecting with many more people who have no other contact with church than we have managed to connect with over several years of trying to attract people to Sunday morning worship through evangelistic outreach.

But the question that's nagging me is, what then is the future for Sunday morning worship?

We have been finding it extremely difficult to grow our Sunday morning congregation in any significant way - and the minimal growth we do see is predominantly transfer growth. This is a key reason why we recognise the need to engage with Fresh Expressions - what we're doing at the moment isn't connecting with the vast majority of our community.

But in our case at least, it's our Sunday congregation who are resourcing (through time and money) our existing Fresh Expression, and in reality will need to start and resource (at least initially) any others God leads us to begin

It's a very good question. Our Sunday morning services are growing again, now that we've found some creative ways to get past the artificial ceiling that a small church building placed on congregation size. But it may well go on to hit the ceiling which Jeremy is talking about. In the past the church has talked about natural ceiling for size based on the building (85% of capacity is the accepted wisdom) or organisational structure, so I don't know if this is a new one, or just the situation faced by one individual church.

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