There are a lot of events for Church Planters these days. The Praxis Gathering stands out by creating space to interact with fellow practitioners. Each presenter is currently at work in grounded missional practice in different contexts throughout North America.
David Fitch is one of the 27 practitioner presenters you’ll get to spend quality time with at The Praxis Gathering. He is the founding pastor of Life on the Vine Christian Community in Chicago and is a professor of theology and culture at Northern Seminary. David has authored many books, including The End of Evangelicalism? Discerning a New Faithfulness for Mission, The Great Giveaway: Reclaiming the Mission of the Church from American Business, Para-Church Organizations, Psychotherapy, Consumer Capitalism and Other Modern Maladies, and Prodigal Christianity: 10 Signposts into the Missional Frontier with co-author Geoff Holsclaw.
David is active in church planting, serving as a coach to numerous communities through the church-planting process. In his blog, he writes incisively on the topic. Here’s one example.
Church planting in United States and Canada has been traditionally all about gathering a large crowd, making a big splash in a community and building a building. Success is measured by how big and how fast. Though I recognize there is some legitimacy in gathering converts quickly. This can happen within Christendom parts of America where indeed what we’re doing in church planting is “upgrading” church and making it more relevant for the children of Christian parents who have lost interest in their parents’ form of church. This I suggest still has some validity. But in more parts of America and Canada we are no longer converting the children of Christian parents. There are less and less left who are interested in Christianity. We are in essence therefore left to plant communities in mission. The goal is not making Christianity more relevant to dormant Christians or children of Christians. It is to be a new witness to the Kingdom in a place that lacks such an expression. This ‘shift’ fundamentally changes our expectations for what a church plant should look like.
Read the entire post here.
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A Missional Element to The Elements
David teaches on the Lord’s Table, the importance of presence, and the extension of Christ’s Table into the world.
Practicing the Kingdom Together
David on the Missio Dei (the sending of God) and our being sent out into the world on mission.
Reconciliation as a Way of Life
In another post on David’s blog, David looks at the spiritual practice of reconciliation in the context of societal issues and points out how Christ’s call to reconciliation offers restoration in times of crises and is inherently missional.
The default modus operandi of Americans when working for racial reconciliation is to work for change in the government systems that mediate justice. We look to change laws, the racial composition of police forces, or school systems, etc. etc. All of this has its place. But the first move of the church is to open space for presence, where people come together face to face, listen, confess their sins, make things right, discern the future. In these local spaces of presence Jesus promises to be present. Here what is bound on earth is bound in heaven. Here the Kingdom authority of heaven bursts in and disrupts the antagonisms and violence of our day. It is the prolepsis of the Kingdom of God. From here laws can be changed, governments changed, and a new world begun.
Read the entire post here.
[Tweet “Kingdom authority of heaven bursts in and disrupts the antagonisms and violence of our day ~@Fitchest”]
Prodigal Christianity and Post-Christendom
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