Monday, 14 October 2013

Working Together is Kingdom thinking

One of the key elements in anything to do with Church growth is the making real the oft proclaimed desire of working together. The problem is that whilst this is a great idea in concept the minute anyone starts to do something in, near, or around someone else's patch the barricades appear.

Now, where I am, we are rather blessed with people who are into the Kingdom stuff and are looking at ways of working together. So far this year we have closed our church and taken the congregation to other places and the message it sends is worth its weight in banana chips - we are there to serve the people around us as one Church with many expressions of church.

Of course there are some who will go to great lengths to explain how they need to do this, that or the other because they don't get 'everything' paid for like we do ('we' in this case being Anglican of course). I've had this reported to me and seen it first hand so I know this to be true. The reality is that the active encouragement of transfer growth (AKA 'sheep stealing' if they're leaving you for somewhere else) from some does happen and although this makes people appear successful on the surface the harvest it reaps is poor and the growth short-lived.

When we do something in our church we need to ask who else we could be doing it with and then, having identified others we could act in partnership with, we do it: Or at least invite them because they might not be in the right place or time to come on board at that time - and if so we leave the door open for later. Where I am I am blessed to find myself in partnership with the local Methodist church and have shared ALPHA, and continue to share a joint house group, with them.

So if you're reading this please have a think about what opportunities there are for mission and ministry in the place where you are and then step back and ask yourself the all important question. Who can I do this with?' - for when you do you're not only opening the door to Kingdom thinking but opening up you and those who travel with you to be blessed and be a blessing.

And there's little to eclipse that reality is there?


Anonymous said...

Hooray for you.

We have an independent and anothrr small demonination near to us and they never play, instead they smile and try to persuade our members that where they are is happening! So the people leave for bands and buildings and the razamataz and then they get baptized because our bapism isnt valid and then they tell us that we are working for the same God.
But the fruit shows the truth of the tree and who does their gardening.

Am i glad to have finally said that somewhere

Vic Van Den Bergh said...

Well I'm glad that I've been useful in giving you somewhere to get it off of your chest - it does seem that some people confuse building 'The Church' with building 'my church' at times.

I too share your angst at those churches who 'inherit' other people's members only to see them rebaptised as if their baptism was somehow more efficacious or valid than that of those around them. This is an area that I have engaged with on a number of occasions with a number of people (usually Anglican of course) and is a sadness.

Email me if you'd like to talk offline


JB said...

You do like to live dangerously don't you?

We know it goes on but we don't usually make a fuss about it. Bet you struggle to keep friends if you're that honest with everything else.

Still, I admire your integrity or perhaps that should be foolishness.


Vic Van Den Bergh said...


Thanks for the comments. Hopefully I'm not making a fuss but I am being honest about what I find because it's what I find and the reality is that I come across many smaller churches (of all makes and models) who complain about the 'super church' up the road who attract their members.

Wynne Lewis used to say that the key was to offer better grass because that what attracts the sheep but the problem is that whilst some come for the grass they do find the shepherds to be wanting and somewhat limited at times and struggle to return because of the way that they left.

And now I have to go and blog something today as that's going to bounce around my head all day unless I can nail it to a door somewhere.

Aaaargh (and thank you),


ps. My friend consider my honest appraisal of self and situations to be part of my bizarre and eccentric nature and love me for it (apparently)

Anonymous said...

I can see why you're shortlisted - haven't read you before but (in Arnie voice) I'll be back!

You do take some risks though

And I like that as there's not enough courage in the clergy these days

Vic Van Den Bergh said...

Welcome to the funny farm - not sure that I really take risks, I just say what I think and see int he hope that others will correct or enlighten me. This is a place which acts as scratchpad for my encounters, a sounding board for conversations and a stimulus for this with whom I do vocations, missional stuff and the like.

I'm no expert (in fact I think I'm merely average) but I am a pilgrim seeking the company of others as we journey to the Cross.

Look forward to engaging with you,