Innovation is what’s needed when breakthrough is needed. When the same group of people who were meeting week in, week out 5 years ago are still the same group of people meeting week in, week out, then some imaginative innovation is needed. That’s what has led a couple of churches in Pioneer Midlands to adopt the idea of providing Community Breakfasts once a month on a Sunday morning. The idea is simple: open up the church venue and provide a free breakfast to the local community, connect with people who don’t yet know Jesus, build friendship, listen to people’s stories, share food together and over time, share faith.
This kind of thinking comes when we clarify again why the church exists in the first place. It’s not uncommon for churches to unintentionally drift away from the founding purpose of the church: to fulfil the Great Commission in Matt 28:19 and ‘go and make disciples’. We need to keep on being reminded of the truth that the church doesn’t have a mission, the mission of God has a church. We don’t get to define the purpose or mission of the church. God does. And he already has. So if what we’re doing week in, week out isn’t fulfilling the purpose of why we exist, perhaps we need to do something differently?
Archbishop William Temple famously said:
‘The church is the only organisation that exists for it’s non members’
Mission is our lifeblood and if we lose it we die. When we are not around brand new christians for a while, we can forget the difference Jesus really makes and why people need Him. Ultimately we forget why we exist and our attention often swerves to the immediate needs and preferences of those already in church. It takes intentionality to stay mission shaped.
The context and size of each church will determine what will work in reaching out to people that God has strategically placed around you. There are some things that smaller churches can do that bigger churches can’t and vice versa. But whatever size you are, some innovative thinking is required.
A smaller church can do food and friendship really well, whether that be community breakfasts or BBQs. Even ensuring that any visitor is always invited back to someone’s home for Sunday lunch is something that larger churches may not do so well.
A larger church can give an opportunity for salvation at every gathering without it feeling awkward or do a larger scale Alpha course with a full room and buzzing atmosphere.
There’s two events coming up in Pioneer’s calendar to fan the missional flames in our churches. The first is the next CORE module on 17th-18th May digging deeper into the theology and practice of our Missional value. Our speaker is Mark Greene who is hugely engaging and thought provoking. Sign up here.
The second is a day to gather the evangelists across our network, hosted by Paul Weston & Judith Anniss, two of our most inspiring evangelists, on Saturday 14th September. Sign up here. You don’t have to be an ‘on the street’ evangelist or a ‘publicly preach the gospel’ evangelist to sign up, you just need to enjoy sharing your faith in your own mission style. (If you don’t know what your mission style is, check out this great resource www.missionstyles.org)