What sort of plant are you?
Although all New worshipping Communities are unique and no two begin in exactly the same way, a few simple lessons from nature give some helpful insights. The following examples may help you to begin to discuss which type you are beginning.
There are lots of other lessons and implications of each type and which is most appropriate in a context. They will affect the kind of team best suited and the planting process so for help on the ways they might affect your planning do get in touch through the ‘How we can help’ page.
Some may be like a strawberry runner, shooting off to form a daughter plant. The runner lasts for a while to feed the new plant. Plants formed in this way are genetically identical to the parent body.
A ‘runner’ churchis usually established near to the parent church. It aims to reach people with a similar background to those who are already responding to the mother church’s approach.
Some plants reproduce via wind-borne seeds. Although more likely to fail, the seeds can go further afield and are genetically different from the parent.
An example of a‘seed’ NWC would be one established by a small team planting into an estate at the opposite end of a parish – or even further -from the main church. The aim is to reach people who are currently untouched by the ministry of the main church, and for whomits approach would not be relevant.
A gardener knows how to divide a large plant into clumps and then transplant one part into a new place.
In some cases a large group moves out from a church and transplants a ready-made church. Some churches have sent out as many as fifty to one hundred people to form a new congregation.
Sometimes a gardener grafts two plants together to obtain a special characteristic.
It is possible for groups to come together from two different churches to form a planting team. For example, a planting team may look formembers fromanother church who are from the culture they are aiming to reach.
(SeeChurch Planting: 1. Models for Mission in the Church of England,Grove Evangelism Series 4, for a fuller development of these models.)
Progression or Pioneer?
It’s also really helpful to discover whether your planting process is a “progression plant” or a “pioneer plant”.
Often the parent church already has members in the area or network which they are aiming to reach. Forming a NWC is not the first attempt to reach that community. It is part of a progression which focuses the life and witness of existing ‘indigenous’ church families. This mission strategy looks for points of strength and builds on them.
When there are no Christians in the target area who have links with the parent church, then the planting team is beginning a completely new witness. This mission strategy looks for areas of weakness and responds to them.