Archive for September, 2019

I grew up going to church every Sunday.  My Dad would say, “It’s time to go to church,” and off we’d go.  My understanding as a child was church was a place you go, it was a location a building.  When I grew older and I was part of the Church Growth movement, I understood that an important part of church was inviting people to join us, to be invitational, attractional.  

More recently I’ve discovered that church of the New Testament was much fuller.  It was not only a go-to church, and an attractional church, but most importantly it was a sending church.

Today nearly 4 million Hoosiers don’t attend church.  A growing percentage of them have no interest in church.  So what do we do?  We have to embrace the full church—not only to be a go-to church and an attractional church, but one that sends out its people into the community, to incarnate the church in the lives of people right where they live, sharing Christ’s amazing love and good news, using their language, relating to them in normal natural ways.  

Fresh Expressions is a model to do just that. Although it comes out of the Anglican and Methodist churches of England, it actually is based on Luke 10 where Jesus sends out the 72.

This means those in a sending church, those involved in a Fresh Expression of church, will spend much more time out in the community than in the church building.  Going to dinner with unchurched folks, having them over to your home, will be just as important as attending Sunday school or Bible studies.  

Last Sunday I visited a church that sends people out and next to me in my pew was Paige, a young recovering drug addict and a mom.  Upon meeting her she said, beaming,  “I’ve been clean for five months and a day,” and then showed me before and after pictures on her phone.  The change was striking!  

You see why we should care about the 4 million who are unchurched? Because each one of them is a Paige!  And in taking the church to her, not only is she changed but we’re changed as well. Our faith is strengthened and renewed too.  So as my dad would say, “It’s time to go!”  Let’s go!

— Ed Fenstermacher, Associate Director of Church Development

Click here to view a video of this post.

Last week a group of Indiana Conference leaders and pastors gathered to pray for our collective multiplication efforts.

We heard from our Bishop, Julius Trimble, and then prayed over scriptures, reflecting on our call to multiply.  We invited the great Multiplier (the Holy Spirit) to open us up, that we might listen and hear.  Then we spent some time sharing what we heard.  It was a powerful day.  

So what did people hear? Here are just some of the comments…

  • We let everyday stuff get in the way and take our attention away from what we are supposed to do.
  • We worry about all kinds of stuff, but we are only supposed to be worried about making disciples.  
  • Intentional space should be made to pray together.  I appreciate this gathering for that reason.
  • We can have global impact.
  • People may not be interested in church, but they are interested in Jesus.
  • Don’t tell people what they need or need to do, but who they are [children of God].  We need to know who we are first.
  • We have everything we need to do what God wants us to do, but sometimes the feeling of scarcity stops us.
  • It is hard to break out of being institutionalized.  We substitute church for the mission of the church.  We need to concentrate on being sent and pleasing God.
  • We need to let ourselves be vulnerable, but it is easier/safer to stay busy and not notice those outside.  
  • We need to know the One who lives in us.
  • We try to make things happen on our own.  We need to follow the Holy Spirit’s lead. 
  • Our job is to build the Kingdom of God, building the church is secondary.  It is very freeing.  
  • We need to abide in Him and do the best we can.

Church Development invites you to join in this multiplication effort. Let’s help each other as we develop a healthy multiplying culture, a culture which results in the raising up multiplying leaders and the development of new faith communities–new worship services, Fresh Expressions, campuses, sites, churches, etc., all for God’s glory!

— Ed Fenstermacher, Associate Director of Church Development

P. S. Email me (ed.fenstermacher@inumc.org) if you’re interested in being a part of a multiplication cohort group or would like to pray for our effort on a regular basis. Join us!