Starting new Christian communities is generally considered one of the most effective means of connecting new people, new people groups, and new residents to Christian exploration, community and discipleship. They give us opportunity to engage with people who we are unlikely to reach through our existing churches. Starting new Christian communities makes it easier for us to change our narrative from "come and join us" to "let's journey together", to explore life in all its fullness in new forms moulded in trusting relationships. Starting something new and unique can be energising, but also isolating, frustrating, lonely and disconcerting. Your district is ready to support you on this journey.
The district team is available to help you start from the very beginning. Together we can listen, discern and trust God to show us the way. Facilitating the development of many new Christian communities (also known as "New Places for New People") is a core component of the Connexional 'God For All' strategy for evangelism and growth.
Our long established congregations can and do undertake all manner of excellent outreach to successfully extend invitation to new people. However new Christian communities are intentionally new independent congregations that will become recognised as "churches" in their own right as part of the Methodist family, rather then being a stepping stone into a congregation which already exists.
The Connexional Evangelism & Growth Team have prepared many helpful materials to how to go about the process. Again, you do not need to do this alone. Speak to your district Evangelism and Community Engagement Enabler and they will be able to help you get started.
This toolkit is an 8-step process that will help you to consider your hopes and dreams prayerfully together as a Church or a Circuit. Please speak to the district Evangelism and Community Engagement enabler to help you get started. Writing a mission plan is contextual and will require commitment but also your time and patience.
In our district we have a district project called six8nine. It's located in the Castle Eden Circuit and is in Hartlepool. The project began with a vision from the congregation of the former Westbourne Methodist Church folk. Together with the existing BB they realised that in their community there is a need for a hub where the community can gather safely. The church congregation was no longer able to look after the premises and so a new partnership began between BB and the Circuit. The space is used for all sorts of mental and physical health related activities such as exercise classes, drama groups, languages school and so on. The vision is to build a new worshipping and disciplining community on these premises.
Please watch the video
There are several Circuits in our District that are using the NPNP framework to develop projects. Watch this space for emerging projects.
Pioneers dissent from business as usual.
Pioneers make a way where there is no way.
Pioneers have a gift of not fitting in.
Pioneer HUB is a safe place for those who do the work that God has set them out to do. But they don't follow set patterns or restrictions. Pioneers notice what God is doing, they then join in and be available to be used by God.
The fresh expressions journey can be a helpful framework to understand the stages of pioneering. However, pioneering always responds to the context and the needs of that particular community.
If you feel that you want to explore if you are a pioneer or you want to know more about pioneering, then please get in touch with the district Evangelism and Community engagement enabler. Email them: email@example.com.
The Transformational Leadership Learning Community (TLLC) is all about helping you change, helping your church or circuit to change, and enabling change for the better in the wider world.
If you would like to speak to Circuits who have been or are on the journey of TLLC then please get in touch with the district Evangelism and Community Engagement Enabler. They will be able to put you in touch with the Circuits.
There is also more information on The Methodist Church website and how to apply.
Being on a TLLC course for two years has gotten us to a good place. We have made good manageable progress and change has taken place. We feel we are moving toward the right direction and people have become more realistic about what is possible and what is not possible.
Castle Eden Circuit
Darlington Methodist District Office
Elm Ridge Methodist Church
Carmel Road South