It started on Tuesday with a small gathering of some great leaders (Mega and Micro) talking and dreaming about unifying efforts towards an intentional missional church planting effort in America. I love that we’re in a time where we can create networks of networks. Non-threatening. Non-combative. Non-competitive.
Involved in the conversation was Todd Wilson (Exponential Network), Hugh Halter and Matt Smay from Missio (Tangible Kingdom), Alan Hirsch (Forge), Lance Ford (Co-founder of Shapevine), Cam Roxbrough (Missional Training Network), Nick Boring (Vision 360), Andrew Taylor and Alley HArding from Church Resource Ministires (CRM), Bob Harrington (Stadia Network), a handful of organic, hybrid, and mega, missional church pastors including guys like Dave Ferguson (Community Christian Church) and Tom Shrader (East Valley). I’m still trying to figure out how I got an invite.
It was a powerful meeting. I think Lance Ford (Shapevine) put it well:
“We are forming a convergence of folks and organizations that include simple church, micro church, megachurch, and just about anyone that wants to move forward missionally… We have been aware for sometime now that there is a need for a more unified effort that highlights training options and gives more support. There is so much great stuff happening out there, and much of it is under the radar. We really want to see a collaborative, peer learning community develop.”
To put it briefly, and in Alan Hirsch’s own words: “There’s much that can be gained from finding a common ground”. Here’s a handful of my favorite “Alan quotes” from the day:
“We’ve been captured by a paradigm… where true innovation is a very rare discovery. In terms of ecclesiology, it’s time. We must find new forms. Based on principles, of course, that are defined by the scriptures.”“There’s something phenomenal going on.”
“We need to be a network of networks”
“Traditional and contemporary church will appeal to about 40% of America. That’s a very real and important thing. My concern as a missionary is for the other 60%.”
For a little glimpse of the nuts and bolts of what’s going on, here are some of the shared distinctives of organizations like Missio and Forge:
• Holistic approach to mission
• Action learning approach to missional leadership development
• Culturally appropriate mission methodology in all settings.
• Grassroots movement ethos
• Diversity of approaches and models
• Intentionally networked structure
• Networked cross-denominational structures
• A passionate action-based spirituality
• Creativity, innovation and experimentation in all we do.
• The priority of modeling for leadership and mission
• Coaching and mentoring