2010 Resurrection Online Micro Church Leader Training

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.

2010 Resurrection Online Micro Churches

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?

Micro Church at Tallgrass Creek

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.

Qualifications and Expectations of a Micro Church Leader

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?

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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.

The Nature, Design and General Rules of the Micro Churches

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?

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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.

What do you do as pastor for Resurrection Online? – Part Deux

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?

Online Campus and Micro Church on KCUR

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.

Enjoy!

Update: You can listen to the show here.

The Rabbit and the Elephant – a review

I recently finished reading The Rabbit and the Elephant: Why Small Is the New Big for Today’s Church by Tony & Felicity Dale and George Barna. This book offers the perspective that the church may be more effective in making disciples of Jesus Christ by multiplying rapidly rather than seeking to grow larger. The authors offer both practical tips and a thought framework for launching house churches and creating networks.

Tony and Felicity Dale share their stories of house church planting in both England and the United States. Some of their reminders include listening to God, focus on prayer and to model a simple pattern so that it can easily be repeated.

An outline for engagement in a house church is taken from Acts 2:42 – apostles’ teaching, fellowship, breaking bread together and prayer.  Each gathering includes conversation, a meal and prayer. None of these are to be the best possible (for example a gourmet chef) to encourage the participation of all. The authors suggest a framework for teaching which involves studying the scripture in a community and using symbols as a guide to the conversation.

  • Question mark – “something we don’t understand”
  • Lightbulb – “something that sheds light, either on that passage of Scripture or something going on in a person’s life”
  • Arrow – “represents God piercing a person’s heart – he or she has heard from God and needs to do something about it.”

The authors suggest that it is important to consider starting new groups with new people rather than assimilating others into existing groups. They suggest looking for a person whose leadership could be key in influencing a new circle of people to start the next group – a “person of peace” (see Luke 10:5-6). Finding this person of peace may be accomplished by telling one’s story as this can be a key opportunity to share the good news of Jesus Christ. They suggest this simple pattern for sharing (pg 135):

  1. What was life like before you became a Christian (or before your faith became real to you)?
  2. How did you meet Jesus?
  3. How has Jesus changed your life?

I found particularly important the reminder that there will be a difficult time of transition for persons who are moving from a more traditional form of church to a micro church. It will not be what it was, nor will it likely be exactly what is envisioned when first starting out.

Many of the themes in this book were quite helpful for those considering the possibility of living out one’s faith in a micro church. Unfortunately, the book did not flow smoothly from beginning to end and there were parts of several chapters that did not add to the advancement of the thesis. Nonetheless, this was a solid book and I recommend it for anyone considering a life of faith in a micro church.

Micro Church Demonstration and Pilot Groups

Last week was an exciting week in developing the concept of using the worship stream at http://live.cor.org to facilitate small groups gathering for worship. Along with others, I was in conversation with leaders from two annual conferences, a local church in Wichita and an existing Resurrection based home group. Each of the annual conferences indicated interest in the concept and expressed a desire to experience a demonstration in districts. This is exciting – Really a way to rethink church (This blog post is buzzword compliant 🙂 You can see the presentation at: http://docs.google.com/View?id=d3ggnsj_581cjnqg7p5

A small group in Wichita and at Resurrection are going to pilot the live worship experience as a small group for several weeks this fall. Three or six week segments.

  • October 18
  • October 25
  • November 1
  • November 1
  • November 8
  • November 15

Are you interested in the potential of internet technology to facilitate house or micro churches? Read more at https://andrewconard.com/2009/08/24/micro-church-renewing-the-mainline-church-1-of-5/ and email me at andrew dot conard at cor dot org if you are a leader interested in leading a small group for 3 or 6 weeks this fall to pilot the experience.

Micro Church: New Church Start (5 of 5)

I believe that over the next several years, micro churches will become an important part of renewal within The United Methodist Church.

While there are many different settings in which micro churches might thrive, I believe that the greatest potential may be in planting new churches. As micro churches continue to multiply and grow, leadership would increasingly be pushed to the local level. A pastor could be appointed to oversee a network of 20 micro churches and serve as a circuit rider in ways that are similar to early Methodism. This allows churches to be planted with little overhead and initial expenditure of resources and for healthy congregations to more easily birth congregations than may otherwise be possible.

I believe that micro churches will have a significant impact on the way that churches are planted in The United Methodist Church.

How do you respond to this idea?

This is part of a series of posts about micro churches. You can read more in the next several days at these posts:

Micro Church: Existing Congregation (4 of 5)

I believe that over the next several years, micro churches will become an important part of renewal within The United Methodist Church.

I believe that existing congregations could be a place where a micro church could flourish. Utilizing a live stream of worship could enable existing congregations to begin another worship service with a small amount of resource commitment. It would not need to be in competition with existing worship services, but could serve to supplement existing worship opportunities. Encouraging and equipping leaders might bear fruit by leading groups in homes or in an existing church building. This might also be a way for congregations that might otherwise be closed by the annual conference to continue to sustain a community life together. This could bring new life to existing congregations and serve as a tool for renewal.

I believe that this will be an important way of rethinking existing congregations in The United Methodist Church.

How do you respond to this idea?

This is part of a series of posts about micro churches. You can read more in the next several days at these posts:

Micro Church: College (3 of 5)

I believe that over the next several years, micro churches will become an important part of renewal within The United Methodist Church.

I believe that colleges and universities have great potential to be a place where micro churches will flourish. In residence halls and public spaces, there exists a community that is already in close proximity. College is a time when persons are willing to try new things and an invitation on the spur of a moment can have significant impact. I believe that existing United Methodist campus ministries could work to equip leaders to lead micro churches wherever they live and have a significant impact on the life of the university. This removes the need for a central meeting place and creates the opportunity for students to practice hospitality where they already spend times with friends – where they live.

I believe that could have a significant impact on the future of campus ministry in The United Methodist Church.

How do you respond to this idea?

This is part of a series of posts about micro churches. You can read more in the next several days at these posts: