I am here connecting with the rise of what I call missional communities–what they call mid-size groups. It’s not the only thing going on but it is a big development. I have predicted this will be the next “green edge” of the church in North America: groups of 20 to 40 people who are incarnational manifestations of church that spring up around affinities of geography, passion of social issues, business relationships, recreational and leisure, etc. We might wind up seeing network churches that connect these missional communities into a larger group that is regional. I am hopeful that the North American church can expand the bandwidth of what we recognize as church to include this new movement. It doesn’t matter; it will happen anyway. I’d just like the existing church to get in on the action.
Just a few notes of particulars:
In Latvia, the national prayer breakfast has spawned a sort of revival movement. Just this week in the capital city a new Alpha group opened with over 100 participants. A group of women are working on a national strategy of creating prayer groups all over the country that will engage unchurched people who are not drawn to existing churches. Without spilling all the beans let me just say that high-ranking government officials are in on the movement.
I met a guy in Manchester England who has been working to reach the youth of his city for 20 years, with the long-haul kingdom view in mind. He has been recognized by authorities as helping to reduce the crime rate. He is a pure street movement, recently launching a bus church (don’t think old bus ministry days of rounding em up to bring em in).
One Danish church is largely planting churches in the business community. Can anyone wake up and smell this coffee?
The largest Anglican church in the UK, Holy Trinity Brampton in London, is working on a strategy of taking over churches that are marginally alive. (We are seeing more of this in the US in recent years) They plan on using the same strategy they use to “seed” new church plants. They send 100 people away to start a new work. Of course, the core just keeps growing! Hint: their plan may eventually mean the “sending” of over 2000 people away. How’s that for a scorecard change?
Further resources are available on our website www.leadnet.org, including a concept paper titled Mid Sized Mission: The Use of Mid Size Groups as Vital Strategic Components of Church Planting, which explores how church planters in Europe are using mid size communities to further the kingdom.