I have continued to pitch micro churches as a way of finding renewal within The United Methodist Church and building Christian communities where non religious and nominally religious people are becoming deeply committed Christians. I am currently working on training leaders to launch these faith communities. I hope that by the end of August there will be three micro churches worshiping regularly. I want to share with you the documents and presentation that I am using as a guide to train these leaders.
These continue to be works in progress. I am working on a document now to address sacraments and will post in a later post when it is prepared. Will you please take a look at these documents and offer your response, ideas or opinions?
I am excited for the potential that exists for micro churches to create new places for new people to hear the good news of Jesus Christ.
As Pastor of Resurrection Online, I am currently working with leaders to launch micro churches where someone gathers 10 to 20 people to worship together with Resurrection Online and continue to grow, give and serve as a community together. This would be an opportunity to be a missionary to your neighbors. Check out this video for an introduction.
Will you please share your response to this initiative?
I had the privilege of worshipping with the micro church at Tallgrass Creek yesterday morning. This is a community of faith that gathers around the live internet broadcast of worship through Resurrection Online every Sunday at 10:45. There were 20 people present yesterday and this has been an an average for the group. I hope to help them be a Christian community where non religious and nominally religious people are becoming deeply committed Christians.
Being present was an encouragement for me and brings hope for the future development of micro churches.
This is a very rough draft of a document which may guide the life of Resurrection micro church leaders. Will you please share with me your thoughts, feelings and opinions in the comments?
To be considered as a potential micro church leader, a person will:
- affirm the essentials of the Christian faith, enunciated in the historic creeds believed by nearly all Christians, such as the Apostle’s Creed and the Nicene Creed
- affirm all 15 core traits of a deeply committed Christian and be willing to grow in all areas.
- regularly practice prayer and Bible study.
- be able to share her or his faith story.
- understand the importance of hospitality and showing concern for others.
- demonstrate willingness to become a spiritual guide and care provider.
- be passionate about discipleship and community.
- be aware of spiritual gifts and open to exploration of them.
- focus on what is helpful and builds up the Body of Christ, and avoid judgmental statements, name-calling, harsh labeling, and efforts to describe anyone holding a different view as “un- Christian”
- embrace the Resurrection membership expectations.
- agree to be held accountable to the Volunteer Leader Covenant of The United Methodist Church of the Resurrection.
- have previous experience leading adults (i.e. projects, teams or groups – managing, delegation, logistics, details, etc.).
- embrace the importance of establishing a group covenant, celebrate differences in group member’s personalities, appreciate differences in spiritual background and knowledge and be open to helping group members do the same.
- have volunteered for ministry inside and outside a church.
- have previous experience participating in a small group for Bible study and spiritual growth.
- have previous experience leading group prayer.
- have previous experience leading a Bible study.
- have completed Disciple 1 or equivalent.
Expectations – A micro church leader will:
- collaborate with and receive care and guidance from the Pastor for Resurrection Online.
- collaborate and be in community with other micro church leaders.
- facilitate the micro church worship experience.
- communicate with each person in her or his micro church, at least once a week, to:
- inquire how their souls prosper;
- advise, caution, comfort or encourage as necessary.
- commit to developing opportunities for each micro church participant to worship, grow, give and serve.
- communicate with Resurrection at least once a week to share:
- who are active in the life of the micro church,
- any who are in need of additional care or guidance (i.e. illness, spiritual concern, etc.),
- stories of life change, and
- any technical problems or concerns.
- look for a person who could be key in influencing a new circle of people to start the next micro church.
This is a very rough draft of a document which may guide the life of micro churches that could be planted through Resurrection. My hope is that the venture will be both faithful and relevant. Will you please share with me your thoughts, feelings and opinions in the comments?
In the fall of 2008, a group of eight or ten persons gathered at a care facility in Leawood, who sought to worship together facilitated by a live stream of worship from The United Methodist Church of the Resurrection. Thus began the idea of a micro church as a way of being the church in a way that echoes the early years of Christianity and the United Methodist denomination. This concept was tested by a small group in Lees Summit in the fall of 2009.
With this in mind, the following expectations and covenant were developed to guide the life of the micro churches. We use these standards to hold ourselves accountable to the Christian life and pursuing our purpose of building a Christian community where non religious and nominally religious people are becoming deeply committed Christians. We recognize that it is God’s grace which calls forth our faithful response, brings transformation in our communities and renews the church.
Minimum Expectations – A micro church will:
- build a Christian community where non religious and nominally religious people are becoming deeply committed Christians.
- make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.
- live according to the theological guidelines of The United Methodist Church and The United Methodist Church of the Resurrection.
- have a leader that is in covenant with The United Methodist Church of the Resurrection who will guide the life of the micro church.
- offer opportunities to worship, grow, give and serve.
- encourage participants to meet to pray together, receive the word of encouragement and guidance, and watch over one another in love.
- collaborate with a United Methodist elder to share in Holy Communion and Baptism.
- create new places for new people.
A micro church worship gathering will:
- occur once a week, at the least.
- offer simple and gracious hospitality.
- begin punctually at the hour appointed, without some extraordinary reason.
- begin with introductions, reminder of purpose, an introduction to the experience and prayer.
- create space for theological reflection.
- Symbols that may provide a guide for theological reflection:
- Question Mark – “I do not understand…”
- Lightbulb – “I am able to offer insight about…” or “I gained insight about…”
- Arrow – “I have heard from God and need to do something about…”
- create space for each person to speak freely and plainly about the state of her or his soul, the faults committed in thought, word, or deed, and the temptations felt, since the last gathering.
- end with sharing joys, concerns and prayer appropriate to the state of each person present.
- have only one condition required for those who desire to belong — a desire to become part of a Christian community where non religious and nominally religious people are becoming deeply committed Christians.
This is one of the most common questions that I receive since starting my new role as Resurrection Online Campus Pastor on November 1. The answer is most accurately answered in two parts and the second part has to do with the in person experience.
We began live streaming two of the Sunday worship services at Resurrection on November 2, 2008. In the early months of this experiment, an care home in the area connected a computer to a television and created an in person worship experience for their residents facilitated by the the live sream from http://live.cor.org. While the initial focus of Resurrection Online was to connect through the internet, the possibility of online tools facilitating in person connection began to address two of the significant questions about seeking to be the church online – care and discipleship.
This birthed the idea of micro churches which would worship, grow, give and serve in their local community utilizing resources from Resurrection. Small groups could gather for the simulcast of worship over the internet and continue to worship at the end of the live stream through conversation, sharing in joys and concerns and praying for one another. These micro churches could be based in homes, dormitories, public space, independent living communities or anywhere that large screen, internet access and ability to gather exist.
My role with these groups is to:
- provide the resources for an effective worship experience.
- respond to questions and problems that you have about the resources each week.
- keep the micro churches up to date on upcoming series and events.
- encourage a sense of belonging through our online community.
I am seeking to invite, connect, equip and sustain these leaders. I will work with denominational leaders who are interested in using this strategy to create new places for new people and renew the church. Look for more information about micro churches in the next few days.
Ultimately, I hope to be part of building a Christian community online where non religious and nominally religious people are becoming deeply committed Christians.
Will you please share what you hope I would be about as pastor for Resurrection Online?
This morning I am going to be on the radio show, Up to Date on KCUR, the local NPR affiliate talking about online campus and micro churches. From the Up to Date website:
Up to Date is KCUR’s award-winning one-hour daily public affairs / talk show featuring newsmakers of the Kansas City community. Host Steve Kraske, a political correspondent for The Kansas City Star brings pressing issues, both local and national, to the table including politics, economics, planning and design, history, and entertainment – topics that have an impact on the lives of the Greater Kansas City region.
The show will be a part of the monthly “Religion Roundtable” feature and will focus on connecting with young adults.
You can listen live on 89.3 FM or at http://www.kcur.org/ListenLive.html
The show is from 11:00 AM to noon central time and I expect to be on around 11:30.
Update: You can listen to the show here.