What if entrepreneurial small group leaders were asked to equip others to invite people to Christ and multiply small groups?
What if these groups participated in worship and discipleship together?
What if these leaders were asked to oversee the networks of small groups which they helped to initiate?
What if faithful and effective leaders were encouraged to organize a group of groups as a local church?
What if these new churches sought to be recognized by the United Methodist Church, instead of the denomination starting new churches?
What if it was facilitated by a live internet stream of worship from leading churches?
In this way, an internet live stream of worship could be used to raise up leaders and plant churches. This would serve to create new places for new people and develop principled Christian leaders for the church and the world.
I was saddened but not particularly surprised to hear the news that GracePoint United Methodist Church would end worship this past weekend. After the formation of Grace Point Community Church, the potential viability of Grace Point UMC seemed small. I appreciate the commitment of the annual conference to north west Wichita, but I believe that the damage has been done that will last.
I do not believe that it would be healthy or helpful for the United Methodist Church to use the land and building plans of GracePoint UMC for a future church start. I believe that the land and assets should be liquidated and the money used for future new church starts, but not necessarily a direct correlation to a single future church.
I believe that the new church start that was GracePoint UMC has been and will continue to bear fruit in God’s kingdom.
It is okay that the new church start that was GracePoint UMC did not work out for the Kansas West Annual Conference or the United Methodist Church. I believe that the annual conference should be about starting more new churches, not less as a result of this scenario. They will not all become viable or develop exactly as planned. But some will and will produce fruit a hundred fold.
We believe a new congregation is more than a mission project, new worship service or new building. For us, it is a newly organized faith community that is committed to making disciples of Jesus Christ and:
includes regular community worship
is theologically Wesleyan
has an effective discipling system
receives new members
demonstrates faithful stewardship
is deeply involved in community outreach
is willing to plant a new congregation in its first decade
Annual conferences will obviously continue to define what they consider a new congregation.
This definition does not have anything to do with numbers or the way that worship is facilitated. I would add to the list one, holy, catholic, apostolic.
I believe that a home, small group or house church would fit this definition and forget about a decade for this type of community to start a new church. I would say within the first 10 months.