Like most pioneers I have, and do, encounter these, some on a daily basis which can be just a little frustrating! But … the research shows these what were thought of by others, and are still thought of, as facts are in fact myths that need destroying, dismissing, and throwing out of the window!
The 7 Norman identifies are:
1. It’s just about copying what works elsewhere
2. This is only possible with large urban congregations
3. You need a large team to start a fresh expression
4. Only evangelicals are interested!
5. Start with worship and you will grow church
6. Fresh Expressions are all the same
7. Fresh Expressions are about getting people into ‘real’ church.
Go read more here.
I guess I encounter 5 and 7 most regularly. To be honest they frustrate the hell out of me!
I guess 7 winds me up the most … as if I am going to spend my time building relationships with people and engage and create with them in some weird way to coerce them into a church building! I mean why would any honest person, let alone a Christian leader, do that. Fresh Expressions is about creating a new authentic expression of church in the culture you find yourself. Why, oh why, is that so difficult for people to get their head around!? We don’t need to come to real church because we are real church.
If 7 winds me up the most, then 5 worries me the most. Give us a guitar and some music and the church will grow. Personally, I have a problem with that as I think a lot of what is sung in some churches is simply not worship. There seems to be a lot of ‘me’ focussed stuff … and even worse I think a lot of it is poorly written. As I heard a person say recently …. ‘if I never sing a poorly written line from a worship song again then it will be too soon.’ Rather than focus new church around worship, worship grows out of new Christian community. rather than impose worship on a community, we need to allow it to evolve. That has started to happen at the gathering and it is incredibly exciting.
Anyway … time to hop off the soapbox and hit the sack! … But go read Norman’s blog … very thought provoking.