Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Post from GA...Any Church Plant sightings?

Hi all. from St. Louis. Remember if you are here you can catch me most times at the UU Christian Fellowship booth in the Exhibit Hall. I am curious to know if you all who are at GA hear of any talk or programs on church planting in the UU movement. A cursory examination of the program doesn't look promising for the future of our movement, which is contingent on starting new churches in new cultures.

Usually when UUA President Bill Sinkford addresses the ministers, church growth and new starts are a part of his opening remarks. Each year they have been. This year, nothing. But the first question was about any growth strategies we might have. Growth period, not just church plants. The responses now seem to center on continuing exploration of another large church rapid start, or some modifications of that, in Pennsylvannia, and what I think might be an even more interesting model of small church growth and starts (?) in Florida. But generally out of failed experiments we know, it is said, that we need to experiment more. I would say, with the Disciples of Christ, 1000 new experimental starts in 10 years. That would be an Apollo Project for us. But the number I have heard is a vision of maybe 20 experiments. Oh well, at least that would be a comittment.

I think the experts that have been brought in are probably better at getting existing churches to grow by addition, and maybe multiplication, and that is something too, but not much. I think even when the vision is there, that I get the impression no one knows how to start. People are afraid of top-down strategies, which is good, but there is not even a committment and vision for how to encourage bottom-up strategies, and how to commit to connecting people with passion around this topic, and no resources given on how to network experiments so we can learn from one another.

Feels like people are in Pathways Shock and Grief. Which is okay for a quick season, I guess, but the world is moving on while we do whatever else we do here in St. Louis, and address whatever other resolutions and debates we will be doing.

I stand to be corrected and would love to report more so please let me know where I should be looking and listening to. Church plants anyone? church multiplication? Emerging Church lessons or conversation? Hello? Hello?

Maybe that's what happens when you become the "cutting edge." You lose connection.

Again, kudos and blessings to all in the progressive church movement, UU or otherwise, who have tried, want to try, are in the midst of trying, or just supporting others with prayer and conversation any church planting at all.

3 comments:

boyinthebands said...

Was there any buzz about Pathways at GA, and if so, what did you hear?

Ron said...

Hi BITB. Well, I may be the wrong person to ask sad to say. My work kept me from dropping in on the plenaries ...and I think that might have been where anything above ground on new church starts and Pathways in particular was mentioned. If anyone knows, please let me know. I didn't hear of anything else on Pathways in any other venue. GA Week is a work week for me and especially this year with our expanded UUCF presence so I couldn't make many of the workshops where it might have been raised, or where any church planting was discussed. As things from GA make their way to the website or blogs hope you all will point me to them.

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