Following on from the general introduction in 42: Building Christians. How do we move to being Missional as Church? How do we build deeper discipleship? What is God calling his Church to be in the 21st Century?
There are different views presented in lots of books, I have at least a dozen. There is a lot on the problems with where Churches are, there is a lot on where Churches ought to be. There is less but some on how to get from A to B. But working this out for smaller established churches seems to be less well covered. Everyone wants to write about exciting new things, much less interest on the stable old.
As a Methodist minister I am concerned that our Churches should be doing exciting new things in mission, that we are building new disciples in appropriate ways (and I can see this happening in many ways through fresh expressions etc). However, I am also concerned that we do not neglect existing members, people who have been faithful for many years. How do we move onward to where God is calling us to be without losing or hurting these faithful folk. How do we encourage them to go deeper?
Then in all of this how do we engage with our culture, an age old problem? To what extent do we enter into the culture in order to be relevant and to what extent do we stay outside to critique it? Too often it can seem that we stand in one sphere of culture and critique other spheres without ever reflecting on the culture we are in ourselves.
Then there is all the baggage we have. Too many buildings, buildings that are old, unfriendly, costly, unattractive. A burden to the Church and yet often very important to the wider community.
In the Methodist Church we can also sometimes seem to struggle with a burden of structures, committees, roles, administration etc (I guess we are not alone in this).
Lots of challenges. What is going to be important and helpful to move on?