An interview with Jonny and Sarah who envision living and working among a network of simple churches in the UK. They share some of the joys and challenges of moving a young family to a new country. Mentioned in this episode:
Let’s be honest. As necessary as it is, we hate the idea of multiplying. Starting a new Summit at some other house, maybe on a different day and at a new time, means creating distance between friends (extended spiritual family) and not seeing one another as regularly as we once did. Still, creating new communities is an essential part of being the church. We take very seriously the words of Jesus when He said He was in the midst of even the smallest gathering of His followers (Matthew 18:19-20). If that’s true, then we conclude it is better for Jesus to be in 100 places among 10 than in one place among 1000.
But that means sending somebody out. Praying for them; equipping Continue reading Who? Where? and Lastly…
Summit Fellowships may take different forms. Generally, they will fall into one of these four types. Note, however, that fellowships often fit into more than one of these categories during its life. For example, it would not be uncommon for a group to start as a friendship group before developing the characteristics of one of the others. Here is a brief description of some styles of simple church.
Friendship Summit: Primarily a group of friends who gather for the purpose of fellowship, conversation and camaraderie based upon the shared commitment to Christ. Many groups may go through a “friend summit” period, but it seems wise for the group to generate an “outward bound” attitude at some point to avoid becoming a club.
Precept Summit: As the name suggests, this kind of fellowship will have as its main purpose the spiritual and character development of the members. This group will recognize their need to build a firm foundation for their faith and practice. Such fellowships will focus on the Bible and study skills; devotional life; and practical application of faith principles. I would recommend,
- Basic Bible study, such as the ALPHA Course, Blackaby’s Experiencing God or Gordon Fee’s How to Read Your Bible for All It’s Worth. There are numerous online tools for becoming familiar with scripture as well. Many of these would be useful resources.
- Sonship Study: These interactive materials have been used to help believers gain a clearer understanding of what it means to be children of God. Sonship Studies have resulted in the planting of small group churches both in the United States and internationally. These studies are not curriculum driven but are facilitated discussions based on relationship.
Missional Fellowship: These fellowships understand their purpose to include reaching into the community with practical expressions of the love of Christ. They tend to be outward in their thinking. A missional fellowship may form around a central theme or interest that is evident in the community, such as music, theater or other defining characteristic. They also may choose to be part of the support network of existing mission organizations. Such groups are often evangelistic in their focus.
Parish/Village Fellowship: Similar to a Missional Fellowship except focusing on a geographical community, such as a neighborhood or district. A village fellowship is typically comprised of members who live in close proximity to one another so they can be readily available as a group to serve their parish and its people.