evolving blend of students and people on the margins. Together they “seek to develop rhythms of life that make loving God,
loving each other and loving our neighbours sustainable.”
Challenged by Poverty
Twigg Boyce says she’s been sensitive to poverty all her life,
and is acutely aware that, as Scripture makes it plain, it’s a
priority to Jesus too. “If people don’t care about the poor, what
Bible are they reading? We can all be challenged. We can
all do more. That will look different from person to person.
For some it means making it their life. For others it will be
something different. Some will provide money.
“House Blend is clearly and unapologetically Christian,”
she continues. “We connect with lots of people who have
lose sight of those priorities.
Because their centre is clear, they
can be flexible about many other things,
including worship. so worship at Liberty
village does not look like worship at
shaban niku. And neither is like worship
at house Blend, where they struggle with
the question of how people with fetal
alcohol spectrum disorder can worship
with PhDs. There is no one size fits all.
The style of worship is reflective of the
culture in which it is set.
The sense of priorities in these new
churches means buildings are not
primary. shaban niku borrows an office
building. Liberty village meets in the Danceology studio. house Blend worships in
the community house. Dash wryly notes
his experience of a church plant out of
someone’s living room growing far more
effectively than a church in a traditional
building. It’s hardly surprising.
Unlike most churches these are not
primarily a gathering place for Chris-
tians, but a ministry to those outside the
Church. They really do exist for those who
do not yet belong. Liberty village sees the
loneliness of people in huge, impersonal
condos and offers community. house
Blend ministers to the poor. shaban
niku reaches out to immigrant Iranians.
Among many other ministries Westminster distributes food hampers.
These churches are incarnational,
their members physically present daily
in their local communities. They don’t
parachute into the neighbourhood to
“do ministry” and then leave. They are
embedded, there to stay. “The Word
became flesh and blood, and moved
into the neighbourhood,” says The
Message’s eugene Peterson. These
churches did the same.
none of the four appears to be the
result of demographic research or of a
strategic plan from a denominational
head office. All were bottom-up, a re-
sponse to a particular need and a focused
vision, rather than top-down.
A couple of years back I was visiting
an evangelical Anglican seminary in the
United Kingdom. In the course of con-
versation the vice-principal mentioned
casually he thought all their students
expected to be involved in church plant-
ing. I was amazed. “All of them?” he said,
“Well, let’s find out.” so, as we did a tour
of the college, he stopped students ran-
domly and said, “Do you expect to be in-
volved in church planting at some point?”
And indeed, every one said yes, including
one training for youth ministry and a PhD
student. I was impressed. Then he said, “I
wish our school could take credit for this.
But, you know, it’s just our cultural reality
in Britain these days.”
Increasingly, it’s our cultural reality
here too. Meet the future. It’s authentic,
it’s incarnational and it’s gospel centred.
Yes, it’s tough, but Jesus never promised
following him would be easy. FT
JOHn BOWen is director of the Institute
of evangelism and Wycliffe serves! at
Wycliffe College in Toronto.
A typical Tuesday night
potluck and prayer
night at House Blend
starts with a potluck
meal followed by corporate prayer and worship.