Thursday, March 24, 2011

Jon's moaning about church planting agaaaaain

It’s spring, the time of year where the trees start to blossom and bud, and greenery appears, and that means it’s time to go out and plant. Plant churches, that is.

In the past week I’ve heard of two new church plants in Cardiff, and again I’m wondering whether it’s cynical to question whether we really need them. The current churches in Cardiff aren’t exactly full to bursting already.

One of the church plants is by an old-school evangelical church into an ‘unchurched area’ of the city. An unchurched area with a Community Church and a Baptist Church in it.

This has been pointed out.

Apparently the rationale is there is no ‘Bible-based’ church there. To me, that sounds a bit presumptively harsh on the Community Church and Baptists, unless they are raving heretics, of course.

What ‘not Bible-based’ means, of course, is that those churches interpret one or two Scriptural house style points differently. Maybe they allow women in who aren’t wearing hats, for example. The heathens.

The other church is being planted from another church in Hereford, and is linked to Hillsongs. They’re calling themselves ‘Freedom Church’, which sounds quite exciting and avant-garde, and, viewed entirely subjectively, weird. But at least it’s not as weird as calling yourself ‘The Healing Church’.

I’ve seen FC’s promo postcards and they are obviously aiming for a youth audience, given that everyone on the card looked like they were in their 20s. Meeting in the middle of the University buildings is another clue to their proposed demographic.

However, they do meet in the evenings, which is a bonus. I’ve offended people before by saying that however many coffee shops you have, all they serve is coffee. Thus, the same is true of churches. But at least the opening hours are different with this one.

I don’t have anything against Hillsongs, although I know little about them beyond their music.

My only gripe is that I’ve noticed their music videos (sorry, worship videos), generally only feature very attractive young people in the audience (sorry, worship congregation). I’m not sure if it is official church policy to exclude ugly people. Maybe going there is transformational on a physical level as well as a spiritual one. There are certainly an above average number of earnest blonde 21-year olds in their vids.

This isn’t meant to be a hostile blog post, although those keen on church planting may take it that way. By all means, people are welcome to plant churches wherever they want, particularly in genuinely ‘unchurched’ areas.

But the points I raised in my last blog post about church planting are still valid, I think. Cardiff isn’t an unchurched area. The city is teeming just with church plants let alone churches, appealing to just about every niche Christian demographic. You’re into miracles, or long worship times, or doughnuts, or Bible teaching, or whatever, then we’ve probably got an exciting missional opportunity for you to be part of a church plant.

I’m just glad that the rest of the country is so overwhelmingly evangelised and ‘churched’ that people are able to come and bring their exclusive brand of coffee to bless us here.

1 comment:

  1. Well said, Jon.

    I actually think there should be a campaign to recruit ugly worship leaders in order to redress the balance.

    Surely there are loads of ugly people out there who can hold a note, play guitar and lead a congregation in worship.

    That may actually be a bit less distracting for the red-blooded male and female members of the congregation, if you know what I mean....