This past Sunday I gave a presentation outlining the mission of Plant Medina and announced the name and location of our first church plant in Medina. It was an exciting time for many of the people who were present. It helped to clarify and direct what our mission is as a church in Medina County. Fortunately, for those who were unable to attend, I was able to make a video of the presentation and upload it. You can watch (or review) it below.
The video is about 1 hour in length, but I encourage you to take the time and watch it! It will lay out many things including: the primitive core values of our church plant, the meaning behind the name of our first church: St. George’s Anglican Church, what type of help we need, what Missional Communities (MCs) are, the calendar for the rest of the year, and our midterm and longterm goals as a missionary organization.
As you watch the video or flip through the slides, I pray the Spirit of Jesus in me connects with the Spirit of Jesus in you.
Here is the FULL presentation with audio and commentary:
If you would like to view a .pdf of the slides you can download that here.
On Sunday we continued our “Vision Alignment Sessions” focusing our discussion on Culture and Values. This session builds on our previous conversations about “community” and “church.” We weren’t focusing so much on “what is culture” and critiquing our broader secular, American culture, but wanted to think about how a church culture influences values. How do we create a church culture that allows for our claimed values to flourish? We began our discussion watching a parable on modern church culture, so I’d recommend checking it out before watching the recap below.
How are we to build the church? What image comes to mind when you think of “church planting”? Something industrial like a blueprint and a construction crew? Something agrarian like seed and a garden? Those are all valid images; however, recently I’ve been thinking of spider webs.
If you took a minute or so to watch the above video, you will see how the spider lets out a solitary silk strand to the wind that then blows it to a firm structure from which it can begin to construct its web (An image of how the Holy Spirit guided Bridgette and I to Medina). Then the spider strengthens that original connection before building the hub. The strength of a web as a whole is dependent directly upon the strength of the hub. From the hub the spider methodically, locally, and naturally builds support segments that expand out from the center of the hub. Each strand of the web stands in relationship to a previous strand. Each silk strand spun supports the other and together grow into an interconnected web masterpiece. From one spider may come one strand. From one silk strand a hub. From the hub the entire spider web system grows. From the one spiderweb may come multiple spider webs.
Some church planting “spiders” out there suggest that you focus on the “launch of the service.” Select a date and start inviting people and getting them excited about the new worship service coming to town. The unspoken promise they give to those they invite is that somehow their services, programs, or attractional model of church will be different from the others. These type of “spiders” rely heavily on advertising and marketing to the launch service. They may even be successful and have a good turn out to the service, because after all Americans are consumers (why should spirituality be any different). But can your web support them? Have you taken time to ensure your web is a safe place? Has it been built on something solid? Have you built a spider web without first building the hub? Planting churches around a solitary service is like that spider trying to spin an entire web without establishing a hub to build from. It could happen, but will it be strong enough to last?
At plant medina we are focusing on making a strong “hub” by which we can grow and expand into a “web”. The hub and source from which we grow are not programs, gimmicks, marketing, or cheesy outreach events. Our hub is built around establishing and maintaining relationships: friends, family, and neighbors. Our hubs are missional communities that are about 15-20 people who gather together regularly for the purpose of prayer, encouragement, worship, and mission to those we are called to serve. We believe that discipleship happens best not in a classroom, or listening to a sermon, or even in a worship service. Discipleship happens best when it occurs in the context of our everyday lives with those we trust and care for. For Jesus didn’t say, “As you gather for Bible Study make Disciples”, but “As you go, make Disciples.” Whether going means to a Bible study or an Airplane club, we believe the kingdom of God is more than just a 2 hour time slot on Sunday mornings (even though this is an important part).
Once we establish our “hub” of missional communities we will begin to gather together on a weekly basis for our worship services (which will include both Word: Scripture, Sermon, Song and Table: Confession and Holy Communion)…Who knows, we may even spin out some more “webs” once our current one gets too large.
What do you think? What are some observations (yes there are more) from spider webs that can act as a natural parable for church planting?
Email us (email@example.com) if you are interested in “spinning webs” with one of our missional communities in Medina.
On Sunday we continued our “Vision Alignment” series talking about “Church.” After a time of eating together, prayer, reading scripture, and singing we watched this short video on “What is the Church.” Not that we agree with every comment in the video, but it opened the floor for a time of honest sharing, encouragement, and truth telling.
In the coming weeks we will be discussing the following topics: values and culture, Anglican distinctives, worship, and leadership. You can download our “roadmap to retreat” for more information.
In the first post of this series, I outlined the content of our “seed vision” at Plant Medina. A seed vision exists as both “primitive” in that it captures the bare essence of who we are and always will be, but also as “potential” in that it has the capacity and flexibility to adapt to different contexts. In the second post of the series, I explored the beautiful tension that exists in the Anglican way of following Christ. This flexibility allows for partnership along denominational/doctrinal lines, but also gives future church plants flexibility in their expression (i.e.- very formal, laid back, charismatic, etc.). In today’s post I examine the growth of a seed vision.
The idea of a seed vision is like that of an acorn. If you plant an acorn in the ground it will grow up to be an oak tree one day. Not an apple tree, or a peach tree, or a redwood, but an oak tree. In our seed vision we aren’t looking to grow a Roman Catholic or Baptist or Charismatic church, but one that is distinctively Anglican in how we worship Jesus Christ and serve the community. So our “acorn” shouldn’t grow into a fruit tree or a red wood, because it’s not in our DNA.
But have you ever walked in a forest or an orchard and seen the diversity of shapes, forms, sizes, ages and features of oak trees? Each one has a unique appearance that adapts to the other trees and forest life around them, but they all remain oak trees in their essence. They all still remain oak trees planted in a forest context, bearing acorns. Our seed vision is to grow and plant other churches. We aren’t trying to grow one large oak amongst little apple trees, but an entire orchard of small to medium oak trees that share the soil and resources with the other variety of trees. Likewise at Plant Medina, we are wanting to grow naturally in the neighborhoods we are planted, but not at the expense of other churches that are already there. We believe that planting churches in Medina will only benefit the other churches in town. After all, a christian church exists to show the world the love of Christ… in our unity and love for one another.
After the reading the previous post, there may be some of you who would like Plant Medina to alway be entirely more of another expression: More Sacramental- wanting a high mass with all the vestments, incense, and liturgy that comes with it. Others will want more of a Charismatic expression- very little or no liturgy, extemporaneous praying, long music sets, and praying in tongues. Others still may want a more Evangelical feel- a 45 minute sermon, a coffee bar to stop at on the way into service, a 50 acre campus, and video presentations with power points, and fill in the blank puzzles for the adults in the audience…
Part of being Anglican is living in the tension of all these elements and allowing the Holy Spirit to bring balance to our worship as we engage in mission. Anglicanism has been described as a via media or middle way between the extremes of Protestantism and Roman Catholicism. The beauty of all this is that as a movement of planting the seed of the Kingdom of God in Medina, certain church plants may be more Sacramental or Charismatic or Evangelistic or Monastic …. but …. not to the total disregard of the elements within the “seed vision.”
Last week we looked at the phenomenon of Organics and how plants and churches grow naturally in the context they find themselves. Next we considered what this would mean for worship: How the ancient patterns of worship that have nourished Christians for millennia find new life, appreciation, and expression in our worship today.
An organic, Spirit-filled, ancient-future, Jesus worshiping community can also be described as planting a movement that is rooted in the Kingdom of God. In the last section we talked about how everyone is called to this mission of “sowing the seed of the Gospel” no matter where they find themselves in life. We have now arrived to what that seed of the Gospel may look like for our church.
The seed is our primitive vision, the unwavering D.N.A. of who we are and who we want to be as a community of believers in Christ.
A Network (a unified cluster of churches, each with their own personality) of Organic (naturally occurring Gospel communities) Churches (worshiping communities) in Medina, Ohio (best city ever) that are Missional (locally and globally active in what God is doing), Scriptural (all Scriptures are God-breathed), Charismatic (an intentional desire for both the gifts & fruit of the Holy Spirit), Catholic (meaning ‘according to the whole’ – a willingness to partner with other Christian denominations), Orthodox (we submit to the orthodox teachings of the historical Creeds of the Church), Sacramental (God administers grace and forms us through the Sacraments), Evangelical (salvation by faith in Christ alone), and distinctively Anglican (the middle way).
This seed vision provides us with freedom within fences by which we can grow naturally where God would have us plant churches or ministries in Medina, Ohio. The idea is that we are accountable to being a “network of organic churches in Medina, Ohio that are: Missional, Scriptural, Charismatic, Catholic, Orthodox, Sacramental, Evangelical, and distinctively Anglican.”
While this eliminates things like denying the Trinity, not celebrating Eucharist, denying the Holy Spirit as being active today and the like it also gives us freedom to contextualize in the neighborhoods or townships that the Lord would have us plant.