St. George’s Anglican Church is the first church plant that has come out of the ministry of Plant Medina. Over the past four months our gatherings have usually been confined to a house, a coffee shop, or a city or county park pavilion. While our times together have been rich in building relationships with one another, as a worshipping community there was a growing hunger to not only gather in a home and talk about Jesus, but to also gather around the Lord’s Table for public worship as we participate in the mission of God in Medina County. There has been a desire for a building/worship space that we could use for our church’s worship services that meshed with our Anglican style of worship… so we have been praying…
… Well our prayers were answer this week when Harvest Presbyterian Church’s leadership graciously voted to allow St. George’s to use their building and facilities on Saturday evenings for our worship services!!! This is an ideal fit for us since Harvest Presbyterian shares a similar vision in matters of Evangelical theology, a faith rooted in the historical and orthodox tradition, an appreciation for liturgy, and the proclamation of God’s Word.
We will be meeting at Harvest for worship on Saturday Nights starting a week from this sat. Below are the tentative dates and times we will be meeting for worship this year:
- Sat, November 19 at 6PM – “Practice Service” – @Harvest Pres.
- Sat, November 26 at 6:30 PM – Worship Service (Bailey Stafford’s Baptism) – @Harvest Pres.
- Sat, December 10 at 6PM – Worship Service – @Harvest Pres.
- Sat, December 24 at 6PM* – Worship Service (Christmas Eve) – @Harvest Pres.
Starting in 2012 our rhythm for meeting as a church will look like this:
- Missional Community Gatherings – 1st and 3rd Saturdays at the Kocak’s House (763 Patriots Way) – 6-8 PM
- Worship Services – 2nd & 4th Saturdays at Harvest Presbyterian Church
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” 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.
Yesterday we began a series of “vision alignment” discussions where we will be discussing some of the dynamics of our church plant. Due to people’s schedules, summer vacation, and jobs I am going to be doing video recaps to try to summarize some of what we talked about.
Before you watch the video below, I recommend you revisit one of our previous posts, a video post on Airplanes and Missional Community . This will help give you a context for the recap video.
In the coming weeks we will be discussing the following topics: church, values and culture, Anglican distinctives, worship, and leadership. You can download our “roadmap to retreat” for more information.
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.
“And Jonah stalked to his shaded seat and waited for God
to come around to his way of thinking.
And God is still waiting for a host of Jonahs in their comfortable houses
to come around to his way of loving.”
– Thomas Carlisle in his poem “You Jonah”
Would it surprise you if I said my aim isn’t just to plant a church? Would it surprise you to find out that my hope is to see all the Medina churches (as well as ours) experience revival? Would it surprise you if what we sought to plant was the Kingdom of God?
What if what we sought to plant was best described as a movement? Not just a church planting movement. Not just an Anglican movement. But a movement that at its core is about announcing the Kingdom of God? One of my favorite parables of the Kingdom of God is when Jesus in Mark 4:26 says,
“The kingdom of God is as if someone would scatter seed on the ground, and would sleep and rise night and day, and the seed would sprout and grow, he does not know how. The earth produces of itself, first the stalk, then the head, then the full grain in the head. But when the grain is ripe, at once he goes in with his sickle, because the harvest has come.”
In this parable there is an organic movement from the seed to the stalk to the head and finally to the full grain. The work of the farmer is to sow the seed, to watch ‘the earth produce of itself’, and to come and harvest when the grain is ripe.
In our context this would look like planting a seed in a garden and watching it grow and bear fruit. This is the movement of Plant Medina: A primitive vision (seed) of the Kingdom of God growing to maturity in the context of a Christian worshipping communities (garden) in Medina, OH that bears the fruit of the Holy Spirit (fruit).
So what is the seed? What is the garden? What is the fruit?
- The Seed – The seed is our identity. The seed is our vision. The seed is both who we are and who we hope to become. The seed is the promise of the Gospel: of redemption for our sins and sorrows, of growing into wholeness and healing, and of the promise of salvation from death.
- The Garden – The garden is the worshipping community. The garden is about where and how we gather together. The garden is growing as a community into the fullness of who Christ says we are. The garden is a safe place to work through brokenness and receive healing.
- The Fruit – The fruit is our values. The fruit is what others know us by. The fruit is for the sake of others. The fruit is what makes us distinctive among other belief systems.
So who was that “someone” in the parable that was sowing seed? Doesn’t it seem a bit unspecific and open-ended… “someone”? Why couldn’t that someone be me? Why couldn’t that someone be you? Why couldn’t that someone who was scattering the seed of the Gospel on the ground be our church? This brings us to the next post, “Everybody Has a Mission.”
Have you noticed the organic food craze that has been sweeping the United States for the past decade or two? As a kid growing up I never remembered seeing an “Organic” or “All Natural” label placed on the food my mom would put in the shopping cart. But people today are demanding that their food be grown without pesticides or artificial fertilizers and in an ethical and sustainable way. People are looking at the size of their chicken breasts and questioning if a chicken really should be the size of a turkey! You can blame the farmers all you want for this, but their livelihood depends on their crops. Furthermore, many of them have no other option due to industry pressure, other than to grow conventionally. Today the revolution in farming is to return to the ancient practices that have brought forth a safe harvest for millennia.
So what does this have to do with the church and church planting? People are tired of getting their spirituality super-sized and a drive-through window. Like the pressures of the agricultural industry there have been pressures on churches in all denominations to ascribe to business models of management, un-scriptural leadership techniques, manufactured sermons, financial pyramid schemes, marketing that is tacky and shallow, and a view of church growth that states “bigger is always better.” Like those people who question the way crops are grown and the size of chickens, there are some of us who are asking the question, “Has church always been like this?” Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not rallying against any specific church or denomination any more than I am rallying against any specific farmer. However, I am saying that ancient Christian practices are never more needed than they are today.
Perhaps the way forward for the church is to re-appropriate for today those ancient practices: daily prayer, weekly Eucharist, abiding in the church calendar, healing ministry, and radical hospitality. What if instead of one large farm in town, there were multiple smaller farms that worked together to grow crops that are sustainable for the community? What would it look like to plant churches that have a neighborhood feel, a deep spirituality, an outward focus to the broader community, and an unshakable love of God and neighbor?
I want to see what it would look like to grow such an organic church community in Medina. Where would we start? What does such a community look like? How do we grow a movement?