This paper presents an implementable plan for contributing to a church planting movement in England. It argues that this contribution can be made by planting a network of reproducing simple churches in the West Midlands of England linked to the Fellowship of Churches of Christ in Great Britain and Ireland. It further proposes that a focus on making reproducing disciples formed into simple missional communities can be accomplished in post-modern and post-Christendom English culture.
This church planting challenge is addressed in three major sections. First, it describes the context of the Fellowship as a small network of churches in a post-Christendom environment of cross-denominational institutional decline and increasing indifference to traditional forms of church. It notes the cultural transition from a modern to a post-modern view of the world, a rising interest in spirituality without reference to Church, and new forms of church accompanying a renewed hope in church planting as a missional response to this cultural shift.
The second section considers the biblical and theological basis for planting churches by making disciples who reproduce themselves and live out Kingdom of God values. It reviews relevant, selected experiences in a personal journey leading to experimentation in a simple and reproducible form of church. The section ends by proposing and describing the third place concept as a reproducing missional form of simple church dependent on disciples making disciples who discern and trust God's voice.
The final section outlines a strategy to establish the third place network of fifteen simple churches in three years. After acknowledging tensions in "planning" organic growth, it describes essential practices in listening prayer, Gospel sowing, discipleship, and leadership development giving rise to reproduction of the third place for multiple generations. It concludes by discussing appropriate metrics and means of evaluating, monitoring, and nurturing disciples, leaders and churches contributing to a church planting movement.
Theological Mentor: Kurt Frederickson, PhD.
Material is subject to copyright.
Aho, Timothy C., "A Strategy for Planting a Simple Church Network in the West Midlands of England" (2011). Doctor of Ministry Projects. 47.