Friday, May 06, 2005

I will build my church
Yesterday I was part of a fantastic day conference (with the above title) looking at the growth of black majority churches (esp. in London) and what can be learned from them.
It was sponsored by the London Baptist Association and Building Bridges of Hope
A mixed gathering heard some great (and sometimes saddening) stories about how the church scene became what it is from Bishop Joe Aldred (including a reminder that 51% of the church going population in London is non white).
We also heard from church leaders about their own stories of growth. A common theme for me was the need for passionate, regular prayer. Interestingly youth was also an issue to arise - both in terms of good stuff happening and concern for the second generations.

Colin Marchant then hit us with an amazing overview of how God is at work in London. He suggested currently the scene is "glo-cal" with a flowing stream of new and emerging churches (esp. black and ethnic majority), hard to measure but full of life. Mission initiatives springing up with reverse missionary movement (i.e. coming here).
He warned of the rocks/dangers for new churches (ethnic or otherwise):
Maintenance, Settling Down, Institutions and the "routinisation of charisma", Cultural Captivity, Personal only rather then holistic gospel.
And challenged churches to reach the white working class.
He suggested we need to flow;
ON -from tradition and Christendom
TOGETHER - in communion, communication and collaboration

There is clearly a sense (which I've blogged before) that we need to see the big picture: the global- urban-postmodern matrix . And to learn from one another.

I left encourgaed, excited to be a part of what's happening here. Many issues to be faced - like inherited churches learning from black churches, new churches, emerging church (or in fact us all needing one another). But God is doing stuff who knows what might develop...


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