This week I am in Greece speaking with two groups of church planting leaders from across Europe. The first group is a remarkable group of church planting leaders from the very best church planting churches and movements from Western Europe. This group is remarkably innovative and finding creative solutions to working within state and established church systems. You might want to check out this list of churches so you can begin to learn from them:
- Holy Trinity Brompton – London, UK
- IMI Kirken – Norway
- AAVM – Denmark
- St. Thomas’ Philadelphia – Sheffield, UK
- St. Andrews – Chorleywood, UK
- ICF Movement
- St. Thomas’ Crookes – Sheffield, UK
- Normisjon Storsalen – Denmark
- The Message Trust – United Kingdom
A couple of innovations that are unique to this group of churches:
- Missional Shaped Communities – Most of these churches have a huge emphasis on reproducing missional shaped communities or mid-sized communities (either way they call them “MSC’s”). Churches in the United States would do well to take a close look at what they are doing. I think the real learning is not about the size (mid-size group of 20-40) but instead the missional focus. I believe that many of these churches are reproducing this size because they find it effective and they do not have other options. Since most of these churches are a part of historic denominations and have no plans to leave them, they can not just decide on their own to start a new church. They have to receive the permission and blessing of the church. Since they can’t easily reproduce churches (because of permission and necessary ordination) they are reproducing mid-size groups which often function as a church. I love it! The mother of innovation is necessity. The sole exceptions in this group are the ICF Movement who are reproducing high impact church plants and The Message Trust who are planting in partnerships with not-for-profits. Neither of these groups are restrained by denominational ties. What is bringing life and renewal to these churches is the focus of their churches on being the church and accomplishing the mission of Jesus.
- Public Healing Prayer – Many of these churches were influenced in the last 30 years by John Wimber, the apostolic leader of the Vineyard Movement. Because of Wimbers influence they practice healing prayer and giving a word of knowledge. One place they have started praying for healing is in public places. They will set up a tent with a banner and offer to pray for people who want it. Now that is bold and I like it; but that was not the surprising part. What surprised me is that they said the success rate when praying for healing in church was about 10% and the success rate when praying for healing out in the public square was more than 80%. Wow. I think we need to try this!
All that is to say that I really enjoyed my time with this innovative group of church planting leaders from Eastern Europe.