Thursday, August 11, 2005

I'm in Shreveport, LA learning about the Shreveport-Bossier Community Renewal project. There are groups from all across Abilene here learning how they can be envolved in community renewal and starting "Friendship Houses," which are community ministry centers (that's to simplistic, but it'll work). Based on the representation, the formation of the houses would be spaced at roughly one mile intervals in a grid across Abilene, a vision that I had for Abilene and incorporated in a church plant project for a class last semester.

My vision for this church plant seeks to respond to the needs of the community as evidenced in the data above. In particular, this church plant seeks to reach unchurched individuals and families or people who have no strong ties to a local congregation by providing an environment in which spiritual development is central, community is strong, and ministry defines the lives of the church members.
One central tenant of the church will be, “The church goes to the people. The people do not go to the church.” By this I mean that the body of the church needs to be and meet where the people are, not where a building happens to be. To this end, the church will be comprised of cells that I call “Home Church Groups.”
The Home Church Groups are not cell groups in the sense of small group cells, but are actually the primary manner of weekly worship. Each group will be lead by a lay minister and will hold weekly worship services at a home in a given neighborhood. The services should be a natural expression of worship for the specific culture meeting in the Home Church Group, and will include music and Bible teaching.
The same home will also serve as a ministry center for the neighborhood immediately surrounding it throughout the week. The members of the Home Church Group serve community in a variety of ways through the ministry house. One ministry will be a benevolence ministry that the church at-large will support, but will be distributed at the Home Church level because a home in the neighborhood where the need exists is more likely to recognize the need. Another ministry will be a simple service ministry in which community members reach out to their neighbors and help by doing things such as mowing the lawn or taking out the trash. These types of ministries help to build community within the Home Church and within the neighborhood and open doors for kingdom growth.

It's always good to see God working out what He showed you.