Re-Opening Update: June 28
Following the news we shared last week (you can read more here) and the latest government announcements about the easing of lockdown restrictions and the permitted re-opening of church buildings (albeit with certain restrictions), we wanted to give you a short update on our current plans.
It's worth restating a few things;
- In this next season we are seeking God for what he would have us do, our attitude is very much "what opportunities is God opening up for us?"
- With this in mind, we are viewing this period positively, not negatively; we want to focus on what we can do rather than what we can't
- We are awaiting further publication of the guidance from the government (and we particularly like the approach our Church of England friends are taking; "government guidance is permissive not prescriptive" - this is wise advice!) In the meantime...
What are the next steps?
The first and very important thing to say is that the process moving forward will be a gradual one. We are taking a phased approach;
Step One: joining with another "household"
Where possible, practical and within government guidance, we will encourage people to consider meeting with another household on a Sunday to watch and participate with the livestream together. Who from your Community could you potentially join with? If this is not yet possible or practical, or you are shielding or in an at risk category, don't worry! We will continue to livestream for the foreseeable future.
Step Two: phased roll out of house churches
We're working with Community leaders to more formally identify how house churches are going to work going forward. Some house churches will likely start before others (again, in accordance with government guidance). Our current Community structure means that some Communities are geographically based, whilst others are not. The geographically based Communities will likely (but not exclusively) launch first. A few other things to note;
- We are not putting any pressure on any leader to get house churches started quickly; organic growth is probably better in this next phase than trying to get everything sorted too quickly
- Not every Community will necessarily become a house church
- We are likely to launch some new geographically-based house churches
- This will probably be gloriously messy...and that's ok!
It is our hope that everyone who calls New Community home will participate in house churches. This will take some organisation. If everyone plays their part in inviting in and looking out for people, the easier the job will be!
Step Three: re-shaping the strategy?
In 2015 we felt God speak to us very clearly about a new chapter in the New Community story. We believe another new chapter is about to start. We are not married to our current strategy (or any strategy) but we've got to stay connected to our vision and what we feel God is calling us to; playing our part in extending the kingdom by building a church with lots of people from lots of different backgrounds, made up of lots of smaller communities, in lots of different locations, reaching lots of different people and nations.
Reaching the nations by Advancing through prayer, fuelled by worship. Identifying more leaders, locations, cultures and opportunities. Starting more communities, venues, meetings and ministries. Expecting gospel transformation.
This will include re-opening our buildings and having public Sunday meetings at some point, however, we are in no rush!
At present, we are seeking God and asking questions like;
- What is God leading us into?
- What is the best way to make disciples and play our part in fulfilling the Great Commission?
- How can we be flexible enough to respond to what God is doing?
We will have more to share in the coming weeks but for now, let's continue to be a people of prayer, faith and adventure.
The best is yet to come!