As I prepare to begin my MA in Mission (Celtic Mission and Spirituality) course in the autumn of this year, I’m starting to think towards the big D….the dissertation. Although I haven’t had any formal conversation with the college yet, my current thoughts are to make a study of Celtic New Monasticism…in particular, what role it may or may not have in the renewal or reinvention of the church for post-Christendom UK. I’m convinced that the renewal of the church will come from a form of new monasticism, just like Bonnhoeffer was. I was convinced of that in my Salvation Army days, and am equally convinced now.
What is clear to me is that even some of our most successful churches in the UK are running on ‘Christendom-shaped’ paradigms. Professional staff, audience of worshippers, programme based, etc. When this works, its fine. But by and large, it isn’t working because it takes a huge of effort to pull it off. I know this full well….I’m at the helm of trying to make a church like Trinity tick. There is still a place for this form of church, of course, but it is fading. I’m not being pessimistic, just realistic.
People protest – ‘the Lord will build his church! Why are you saying it is failing?’ I think we need to understand, again and again, church is people – the body of Christ. Church is NOT our structures, ways of being and doing. The people of God will continue to grow and form the body of Christ. The question is, what does the body of Christ look like for our generation.
On Wednesday this week (18th June) I’m going to publish a short vision document. It is an idea, a hope, a something that has been with me for a long long time but which is coming into maturity and also into sharper focus. I’ve sung General Booth’s line ‘The revolution now being…send the fire today.’ Now is the time to have a stab at it!
Please tune in!!!