The issue is not how many churches we plant but what kinds of churches we dare to imagine.
In this blog Murray discusses ‘church planting’ as a model or initiative of evangelism and church growth. He tracks its success and limitations over the last decade, coining this the ‘decade of evangelism’. The key learning points suggest:
Cloning inherited models of church simply will not do.
Indeed, cloning churches may not work. But what about youth ministry? Any youth minister could be mistaken for thinking reproducing a program might be ‘the holy grail’ in the development of youth ministry. Yet we know this has huge limitations and invites problems in transferring, even very successful projects into new areas. Those that have been most successful seem to have discovered their own hybrid in new soil rather than replicating a carbon copy. This in itself suggested that values are more transferable than projects.
Murray goes on to say:
What is needed is a symbiotic relationship between inherited and emerging expressions of church: the old needs the inspiration, challenge and pioneering spirit of the new; the new needs the accumulated wisdom, stability and discernment of the old.
Again, we can apply this to youth ministry. We have a rich heritage of learning and experience that it is helpful to draw on (we hope that within this site you will find both the new and the old). Murray suggests that the next decade should be a ‘decade of experimentation’. What does that mean? Murray suggests a few pointers; freedom to fail, creativity, and understanding of our contexts – including post-christendom (read more or here for context on ‘post-christendom’).
The potential for the development of youth ministry is exciting, as we learn from the old and establish the new, drawing on the experience that has gone before.