"One of the things that excites me about what God is doing is in the interface between missional models for church and multi-site strategies," says Leadership Network's Greg Ligon in his recent post, "Missional Meets Multi-site" on the Leadership Network's Learnings Blog.
According to Ligon, "Multi-site churches are reaching out to their community by using campuses to establish missional presence in neighborhoods."
In the words of Alan Roxburgh, at a recent PGF Consultation, “The real spiritual shift is not about ‘making church work’ but about discovering what God is already up to, out there ahead of us, in the neighborhoods and communities where we live."
This sense of 'shift' is not located in one denomination, one geographical area, or one style of church--it is being discerned across what might be thought of as typical lines of division. It is a sense that the future might hold new ways of 'being church'--ways that might look very different from our past models which have tended to be more program driven or building centric.
“People might not know how to put language around it, but their hunger is there. Our calling is to ask, ‘How do we attend to and listen to the hungers that are out there?’” suggests Roxburgh.
Around the country and throughout the PCUSA these 'experiments in being church' are beginning to take shape. They are happening in big churches and small, urban and suburban, across worship styles and even across the evangelical and mainline continuums.
Of course there will be challenges--any shift requires some leaving behind of the old in order to embrace the new. That can be uncomfortable and even difficult. Which is why we are better together in this than alone. Together we can encourage one another, share our stories of both success and failure, and experiment together as we discern what God calls us toward as we listen and are sent out into the world.
Have you begun this shift? Have you already been experimenting? Are you just beginning to sense that God might be calling you to something new? We would love to hear your story, and to help you share it with others who are looking for ideas and encouragement.