FIVE CHARACTERISTICS OF ALTERNATIVE CHURCHES By Bill Faris – Vineyard at Home www.vineyardathome.com   email:  [email_addr...
Introduction <ul><li>Alternative Churches: Use of the Term – </li></ul><ul><li>-  As I am using the term in this presentat...
PART ONE - <ul><li>FIVE  DIFFERENTIATIONS  OF  </li></ul><ul><li>ALT-CHURCHES </li></ul>
Five Differences - 1 <ul><li>Alt-Churches are different in STRUCTURE </li></ul><ul><li>Emphasize simplicity </li></ul><ul>...
Five Differences - 2 <ul><li>Alt-Churches are different in FUNCTION </li></ul><ul><li>Often more fluid and flexible in how...
Five Differences - 3 <ul><li>Alt-Churches are different in FOCUS </li></ul><ul><li>Emphasize high levels of member partici...
Five Differences - 4 <ul><li>Alt-Churches are different in AFFILIATION </li></ul><ul><li>Often connected by relational net...
Five Differences – 5 <ul><li>Alt-Churches are different in PURPOSE </li></ul><ul><li>Emphasize a call to serve particular ...
PART TWO <ul><li>Five Characteristics of Alt-Churches </li></ul><ul><li>Simplicity </li></ul><ul><li>Adaptability </li></u...
Characteristic One: Simplicity <ul><li>Alt-Churches CELEBRATE simplicity </li></ul><ul><li>See simple agendas, structure a...
Characteristic Two: Adaptability <ul><li>Alt-Churches CELEBRATE adaptability </li></ul><ul><li>See adaptability as an impo...
Characteristic Three:  A Christ-Centered Ethos <ul><li>Alt-Churches CELEBRATE Jesus! </li></ul><ul><li>See Jesus Christ at...
Characteristic Four:  A Missional Focus <ul><li>Alt-Churches CELEBRATE their mission! </li></ul><ul><li>J.D. Payne – chara...
Characteristic Five –  A High Level of Member Participation <ul><li>Alt-Churches  celebrate  high participation of all mem...
PART THREE <ul><li>Conclusion </li></ul><ul><li>Currently, about 5% of American evangelical churches fit “Alternative Chur...
Questions or Comments? <ul><li>www.Vineyardathome.com </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul><ul><li>Book:  Homegrown...
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Five characteristics of alternative churches

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An overview of some of the key features of alternative churches such as house churches, missional communities, simple churches, organic churches and how they are distinct from conventional or traditional churches.
A good introduction to the topic.

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Five characteristics of alternative churches

  1. 1. FIVE CHARACTERISTICS OF ALTERNATIVE CHURCHES By Bill Faris – Vineyard at Home www.vineyardathome.com email: [email_address]
  2. 2. Introduction <ul><li>Alternative Churches: Use of the Term – </li></ul><ul><li>- As I am using the term in this presentation: </li></ul><ul><li>Alternative” churches are traditionally evangelical in their doctrinal foundations but depart from traditional or conventional evangelical churches in their modality of church life and structure </li></ul>
  3. 3. PART ONE - <ul><li>FIVE DIFFERENTIATIONS OF </li></ul><ul><li>ALT-CHURCHES </li></ul>
  4. 4. Five Differences - 1 <ul><li>Alt-Churches are different in STRUCTURE </li></ul><ul><li>Emphasize simplicity </li></ul><ul><li>Minimize complexity of leadership structure, programming and function </li></ul><ul><li>Often referred to as “Simple” </li></ul>
  5. 5. Five Differences - 2 <ul><li>Alt-Churches are different in FUNCTION </li></ul><ul><li>Often more fluid and flexible in how they practice worship, fellowship and mission </li></ul><ul><li>Less “brand-focused” in their outward expression </li></ul><ul><li>Often described as “Organic” </li></ul>
  6. 6. Five Differences - 3 <ul><li>Alt-Churches are different in FOCUS </li></ul><ul><li>Emphasize high levels of member participation in meetings, decision-making and mission </li></ul><ul><li>Avoid “top-down” style of leadership, vision-casting </li></ul><ul><li>Often described as “Open” </li></ul>
  7. 7. Five Differences - 4 <ul><li>Alt-Churches are different in AFFILIATION </li></ul><ul><li>Often connected by relational network rather than formal affiliation </li></ul><ul><li>Often described as “Networked Communities” or “Cell Churches” </li></ul><ul><li>Increasingly, however, new hybrids are emerging between a “mothership” central campus and outlying missional communities </li></ul>
  8. 8. Five Differences – 5 <ul><li>Alt-Churches are different in PURPOSE </li></ul><ul><li>Emphasize a call to serve particular neighborhoods, people groups, campuses or other specific points of mission </li></ul><ul><li>Often described as “Missional Communities” </li></ul>
  9. 9. PART TWO <ul><li>Five Characteristics of Alt-Churches </li></ul><ul><li>Simplicity </li></ul><ul><li>Adaptability </li></ul><ul><li>A Christ-Centered Ethos </li></ul><ul><li>A Missional Focus </li></ul><ul><li>A High Level of Member Ownership/Participation </li></ul>
  10. 10. Characteristic One: Simplicity <ul><li>Alt-Churches CELEBRATE simplicity </li></ul><ul><li>See simple agendas, structure and emphases as DESIREABLE </li></ul><ul><li>Simple is Flexible </li></ul><ul><li>Simple is More Reproducible </li></ul><ul><li>Simple is More Empowering to Every Member </li></ul><ul><li> * Vineyard Lingo: “Everyone gets to play…” </li></ul><ul><li>Simple is more resource efficient </li></ul><ul><li>Simple connects discipleship to “doing” and not just “knowing stuff” </li></ul>
  11. 11. Characteristic Two: Adaptability <ul><li>Alt-Churches CELEBRATE adaptability </li></ul><ul><li>See adaptability as an important part of their MISSIONAL EMPHASIS </li></ul><ul><li>Adaptability allows for changes in agenda – days, hours, minutes – even seconds (rather than weeks or months) </li></ul><ul><li>Adaptability allows for essentials of the faith to be emphasized </li></ul><ul><li>(Gemstone gets the focus, not the Setting) </li></ul><ul><li>Adaptability puts the Mission before the Structure (not the other way around) </li></ul><ul><li>Adaptability allows higher percentage of membership to introduce new initiatives or solve problems </li></ul><ul><li>Adaptability means HEAVY in our convictions, LIGHT on our feet! </li></ul>
  12. 12. Characteristic Three: A Christ-Centered Ethos <ul><li>Alt-Churches CELEBRATE Jesus! </li></ul><ul><li>See Jesus Christ at the Center and at the Head </li></ul><ul><li>Ethos : “the fundamental character or spirit of a culture; the underlying sentiment that informs the beliefs, customs, or practices of a group or society; dominant assumptions of a people or period” (Dictionary.com) </li></ul><ul><li>De-emphasize Church brand or leadership personality to focus on the essential presence of Jesus in the community </li></ul><ul><li>SPOTLIGHT is on Jesus as opposed to buildings, programs, etc. </li></ul><ul><li>Ancient church confession of “Jesus is Lord” not merely a statement of faith but a philosophy of ministry and church life </li></ul>
  13. 13. Characteristic Four: A Missional Focus <ul><li>Alt-Churches CELEBRATE their mission! </li></ul><ul><li>J.D. Payne – characteristics of MISSIONAL house churches for the purposes of his study </li></ul><ul><li>At least one new baptism per year </li></ul><ul><li>One daughter church every three years </li></ul><ul><li>An emphasis on serving others as a community of believers </li></ul><ul><li>Thom Ranier (Lifeway Christian Resources – as quoted by Payne): </li></ul><ul><li>96% of American churches do not meet the criteria for being effective evangelistic churches </li></ul><ul><li>Missional communities emphasize relationship and servant evangelism over program or attractional features </li></ul>
  14. 14. Characteristic Five – A High Level of Member Participation <ul><li>Alt-Churches celebrate high participation of all members – both sexes, all ages, all spiritual maturity levels </li></ul><ul><li>Turns the so-called “Pareto Principle” (80/20 Rule) upside down </li></ul><ul><li>Previous four characteristics invite higher levels of member participation </li></ul><ul><li>As determined by: needs, gifts, opportunities </li></ul><ul><li>Looks more like what we see in the Bible / Historic renewal movements </li></ul><ul><li>“ Every member a minister” for real! </li></ul>
  15. 15. PART THREE <ul><li>Conclusion </li></ul><ul><li>Currently, about 5% of American evangelical churches fit “Alternative Church” descriptor </li></ul><ul><li>That number is stable and even growing a bit </li></ul><ul><li>2007 – 3% of American school-aged children are home schooled (USA Today) – growing, too </li></ul><ul><li>Similar rises in home-based businesses, etc. </li></ul>
  16. 16. Questions or Comments? <ul><li>www.Vineyardathome.com </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul><ul><li>Book: Homegrown: Our First Steps in Bringing the Church Back Home , By William T “Bill” Faris </li></ul><ul><li>Get your copy here: </li></ul><ul><li>http://www.lulu.com/product/paperback/homegrown/15523944?productTrackingContext=search_results/search_shelf/center/1 </li></ul>
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