Yesterday started the day with a lonely breakfast.
For a while I have been really keen to gather a Bristol based “learning community” for all of us engaged in Fresh Expressions, Church Planting and all things Pioneering.
I’ll be honest as a Pioneer Minister most people don’t get it most of the time, and it is draining.
I sometimes feel so isolated.
Today no one came.
Just me (and the dog!)
There are a few people I have met on the journey that seem on the same page, but we are all so busy, and meeting up, praying, chatting, sharing seems like a luxury -I’ve missed these kind of meetings too because the diary didn’t allow it.
I wondered for a second whether I was trying to call a meeting for me, for my desire for a community that gets it, or to serve other people. As I sipped my coffee trying to not look like a bloke that has been stood up on a date, I thought perhaps it is both, perhaps I am wondering ‘does anyone else out here feel like this? If so, let’s meet, share and pray.
I thought too about learning communities as a whole, I have been part of a reasonably successful one looking at missional opportunities on new housing developments, where we share and pray, but also go a bit deeper in wrestling these issues together, sharing our experience and having insights from other people that (hopefully) understand what and why we are doing what we are doing.
Truly at their best this type of fellowship is “iron sharpening iron as one person sharpens another”.
I smirked as I thought of chapter meetings (here in Bristol they have mainly been reasonably good) but I have been in some where they are “bitch and brag sessions and not altogether helpful. Yet, I also thought how often do we discuss the stuff that really matters, like what are we doing to see real people coming to know Jesus? Are we really making Disciples that look like Jesus and doing what he did for the same reason he did it? -If not, why not? what is stopping us?
I don’t get why people aren’t passionate about Fresh Expressions of Church? It is actively seeking to partner with God is seeing where he is leading and joining in and seeing lives changed and the Kingdom of God coming in more fully. Yet we seem to put all our efforts in keeping the ship afloat (much of it probably should have been jettisoned a couple of decades ago).
I still believe that God is in Fresh Expressions, and he is calling his Church to get ready and be prepared for what he is doing, and about to do.
So, despite being on my own, I will still argue that God is “doing a new thing”, that Fresh Expressions are vital to the mission and ministry of the Church, and statistically probably the most fruitful ways of engaging with the unchurched and the dechurched.
As I ate my breakfast I prayed for this city, I prayed for the many people I have come to know here in Kingswood, I prayed for our Churches, those that are open to change and those resistant too it. I prayed for burned out and misunderstood Vicars and ministers -pioneers who maybe don’t even know that they are pioneers. I prayed that God would show us all his plan for the future of his Church and that we would be bold enough to grasp it and be obedient. So, as I ate my brekky, praying, thinking, drinking coffee I realised it wasn’t a lonely breakfast but one shared with the King of Kings.effective in reaching those that don’t yet know Christ.