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Session 5 - Transitioning Historic Churches and Birthing New Faith Communities
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Session 5 - Transitioning Historic Churches and Birthing New Faith Communities


Session 5 of Plenary Week with Eddie Gibbs. Transitioning Historic Churches and Birthing New Faith Communities.

Session 5 of Plenary Week with Eddie Gibbs. Transitioning Historic Churches and Birthing New Faith Communities.

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  • I wrote the book ChurchMorph to address the question, “What is God up to in our day?” There are a wide range of ground-level initiatives–not top/down, but bottom/up . Not beginning at the center but on the margins– or are they the frontiers? What will post-Christendom Western church look like? CROSSING OF THE JORDAN Joshua 3 The spies had reconoitered the land. Of the group of twelve, only two,: Joshua and Caleb survived the 40 years in the Sinai wilderness and went on to possess the land (Num 14:38). The officers gave orders, “When you see the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God, and the priests, who are Levites, carrying it, you are to move from your positions and follow it. Then you will know which way to go, since you have never been that way before … Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do amazing things among you.” THE CHALLENGE Lesslie Newbigin expressed one of the fundamental issues of the missional quest: the challenge facing the European and North American churches was the re-conve3rsion of its own people ( The Sky is Falling , p. 11)


  • 1. TRANSITIONING HISTORIC CHURCHES AND BIRTHING NEW FAITH COMMUNITIES Identifying new initiatives among historic denominations, new church networks, and communities engaged in incarnational urban mission
  • 2. Distinguish between “change” and “transition”
    • Change is what happens to us from the outside and over which we usually have no control.
    • Transition is our inner response to the change we are experiencing and over which we do have some control.
  • 3. The Change Process
    • Identify the stories and images with which people connect
    • Connect these images with the biblical narrative
    • Cultivate dialogue to interpret and apply these images
  • 4. Move from Church Member to Jesus Follower
    • Christian commitment measured primarily in terms of loyalty to the institutional church
    • Faith has become individualized and privatized
    • Reductionistic gospel that meets our personal needs without challenging our priorities
    • Church needs to re-evangelize itself
  • 5. The Gospel and Culture
    • The gospel judges each culture according to how compatible it is with the focus, values and goals of the kingdom of God.
    • The gospel also reveals the extent to which the church itself has become acculturated by accommodating to cultural aspirations that are contrary to the reign of God, thereby denying its prior allegiance.
    Gospel Culture Church
  • 6. Five Megatrends
    • From Modernity to Postmodernity
    • From the Industrial Age to the Technological and Information Age
    • From The Christendom Era to The Post-Christendom Era
    • From Consumer Demand to Creative Participation
    • From Religious Identity to Spiritual Exploration
  • 7. What’s God Up To? 3: “Fresh Expressions” 4: The Megachurch Factor 5: Urban Engagement 6: Resurgent Monasticism 7. Expanding Networks 8. Alternative Worship
  • 8. “ Fresh Expressions
    • Church planting initiatives within traditional denominations
    • Bottom/Up rather than Top/Down
    • Hierarchy response:
      • Permission giving
      • Ownership and control
  • 9.
    • Critical self evaluation
      • Who are they attracting?
      • How are they impacting their lives?
      • What is the extent of their influence?
    • Their strategic importance
      • Visibility and influence
      • Educational and equipping centers
      • Birthing and nurturing new faith communities
    The Megachurch Factor
  • 10. Urban Engagement
    • Incarnational witness
    • Long term commitment
    • Raising up indigenous leadership
    • Multicultural challenge
    • Social engagement
    • Forging coalitions
      • With city hall, schools, social services, law enforcement, etc.
      • With other churches, specialized ministries and non-profit organizations
  • 11. What is a ‘Missional Community’?
    • Consists of followers of Jesus who are seeking together to be faithful in their place and time
    Ringwood, Melbourne
  • 12. Resurgent Monasticism
    • Grassroots ecumenism and prophetic witness
    • Incarnational ministries among the poor
    • Renewal and reconciliation
    • Mission order inspired by the ancient Celtic model
  • 13. Expanding Networks
    • Independent church planting initiatives
    • Origins among the Jesus People and in the House Church Movement
    • Apostolic leadership
    • Core groups of “tent-makers” with bi-vocational leaders
    • Multi-site churches
    • Facilitating organizations
  • 14. Alternative Worship
    • Listening with discernment to the broader culture
    • From passive consumption to creative participation
    • Embracing the whole of life
    • Ideas and resources
      • Home grown
      • Shared
    • “ Third space” hospitality
    • The universal call to worship
  • 15. Worship in the Psalms
    • Embrace the whole of life
    • Issue a universal call to worship
      • The Temple–a house of prayer for all nations
    • Worship is inseparably linked with witness
    • Worship separated from mission is in danger of lapsing into self-indulgence.