Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Church plant or worship gathering?

I’ll get back to the “why” series after this post, but hopefully this post will foster even greater discussion.

For a while now I’ve been struggling with what to do to reach my generation. Should I approach my leadership and ask them to change or adapt the Sunday morning service to make it more emergent friendly? Should Hayley and I leave, looking for a new church home? Should I, with a team of like-minded individuals, attempt to start something new?

I feel like approaching my leadership and asking them to change is the wrong way to go. Who am I to change the way my fellow congregants worship? They’re perfectly happy with the way Sunday morning looks, and have little to no desire to see anything different. And while I recognize the importance of stretching and growing, I also appreciate the importance of peace and harmony. Adding instruments, videos and a radically different service style would not promote peace and harmony.

I also hate the idea of leaving our current congregation. I know Hayley wouldn’t enjoy that and leaving Central would upset people that I’ve grown to love.

Which leaves the final option: starting something new. I feel like this option is the best, but I’m not sure to what level this “new thing” should go. Should it be an alternative gathering on Sunday nights? Should it be a concerted church plant effort? Do we need to get the support and blessing of congregations to do this or do we just go for it?

So many questions, so many barriers and so much that needs to be done. So, I ask all of you for advice and guidance.

What should I do?


KSullie said...

wow....i and we ask those kinds of questions all the time. the balance is so sensitive when it comes to peace, harmony, blazing a trail, rocking the boat...whatever.
I was just thinking this morning that one of the things I envy about Christ was that he didnt get caught up in this...he just knew what he was doing and what to be about all the time! He did rock the boat...he did promote peace and harmony...he did value people above law, etc. His ministry wasnt reactionary. It was truth.
I dont know what you should do. I am sure you pray about it all the time. I wonder if looking for other open doors will help you to find your answer. I wonder if there are several ways you could go here that would all honor God. What do you want in the long run? How are your gifts best used for the Kingdom? In which ways would you be sacrificing the most for the Lord...maybe thats strange. I just thought it and out it came. Maybe its a good question. Maybe its irrelevant to this.
Either way. I am interested to see what else comes up.
Starting something new? If so, by yourself or with support? Join something else going on that looks more like what you envision when you hear God speaking to you about His church? If so, where? Stay where you are and try to help people grow? Where is the outreach in any of these things? I dont know. Many questions that I have to think about myself!

Joe said...

Our generation hates the confinement of labels like "church plant" and "alternative service". Often we have to use them because to reject them completely leaves us with the dreaded sense of ambiguity that makes things seem pointless. But, when we label our activities in such a way it often seems they get carried away with connotations we never wanted to support. Personally I think you should just get people to gather and see what happens, and if a label is necessary, let the community as a whole work to determine what it is: let the product arise instead of attempting to pre-determine it.

Sharon said...

As for the "what": pray. I really believe that when the time is right, and God is calling, your path will become clear.

You might want to check out http://www.theplacelite.blogspot.com/

The Place is this amazing - totally youth oriented - service that I used to go to when I lived in Victoria. 1000+ 15-30 year olds would gather, worship and pray on Sunday nights. It's led by Randy Hein who is still the coolest pastor I have ever met.

The thing about the Place is that it's held at Lambrick Park Church. A couple times I've gone to the morning service...and it's...well...boring. The classic yuppie, white-bread, old-school service.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that it's possible for both to exist together in the same building. One does not preclude the other.

Stacy Peters said...

Todd, I certainly understand your feelings. As you know, we began a "new" church some 20 years ago. It was VERY difficult. One of the benefits of being in a denomination is that you have some built in unity in terms of practice, if not beliefs. When you break out into something new, it takes some sifting for everyone to get "parallel." I believe the Holy Spirit will guide you. Don't confuse fear with anxiety, though -- they're not the same thing, you know. "Be bold, be strong, for the Lord Thy God is with you!"

Todd Ramsey said...

You asked more questions than I did! I was asking for advice, not more questions! :)

I both agree and disagree. I too hate the arbitrary labels that are placed on "projects." Nobody wants to be a project or a mission field. I don't want to think of people that way either. However, I do feel accountable to this, whatever it is. I want a purpose and reason behind this "thing." I don't know if that's my need for control or something more noble.

Sam said...

I am sure that you have talked to your friends there at the church in Wichita. If you haven't I would certainly suggest that you do, & if you have, maybe try to make it gradually more & more purposeful & concrete. Try to feel out those around you as to how they feel about the idea of becoming more emergent. You're probably right about going straight to the leadership being a not so good start. Change starts within your immediate circle of influence. It may be slow going, but I think being more deliberate in your exchanges with you all's friends there is the right place to start.

KSullie said...

hey u should link up joes blog...if you want.

KSullie said...

and...how do u do that by the way. i never can get anything to link up on mine!

Todd Ramsey said...

I'm adding Joe after this comment!

Simply go to your dashboard, then template and then scroll down till you see "Google" and "Edit Me" and change the links to links you want. It's THAT easy!

Sean said...

Hi Todd! Thanks for putting on the seminar yesterday. I really enjoyed it and found it very insightful. Love your posts on here too.

Concerning this post: I have lived in Wichita my whole life, and have always felt a real hole in this community in regards to what I would call an "authentic community of believers", especially in regards to young adults and families. I have known a lot of "good churches", but I've never found that one place where I felt like I was a part of a real, committed community of believers who were not only learning together, but were truly doing life together in that authentic community. Recently I've started attending a place where I believe that might actually happen. Actually, I might be coming on staff there to lead their worship team. It's called The Journey, and I guess you would call it a "church plant". It's not a card carrying member of the emergent church movement, but it's the closest thing I've found in these parts. Anyway, I'll keep you posted on how things develop there. I am really excited to see if it is the authentic community that my wife and I (and, I believe, many others in this city) have been looking for. I will also keep you and your journey in my prayers as well! Thanks again for yesterday.