What does a United Methodist New Faith Community look like?
Definition of a New Faith Community in the Detroit Conference
- Did not exist before.
- Practices Wesleyan Theology and is consistent with the polity of the United Methodist Church.
- It’s primary focus is reaching new people who are not in existing churches.
- If sponsored by a parent congregation, it is different. This may include differences such as geographic location, ethnicity, socio-economic status, culture, etc.
- Knows why it exists and has a clear sense of mission/vision and who God is calling it to reach.
- Gathers for regular worship and celebration of the sacraments.
- Receives new members.
- Has intentional disciple-making, mission and financial stewardship systems.
- Is deeply involved in community transformation.
- Is willing to start a new faith community within the first decade of its formation.
In the Detroit Conference, New Faith Communities are established in different ways. This is a summary of the models for planting that are supported and nurtured by the New Church Development Committee:
- A pastor is appointed to an area where the pastor is unknown
- The pastor begins by integrating into the community, learning its culture and customs, making friends, and developing a launch team
- Similar to the Parachute Model except that the pastor has some familiarity with the community
- Begins with a connection to the Annual Conference and the District, working with the New Church Development Team
- Neighboring churches are encouraged to partner with the new church
- An additional campus of a parent church
- Leverages credibility and reputation of main campus
- Uses resources of main campus
- New church start pastor is appointed to a Parent church
- A core group of the parent church is birthed to the new church
- Birth occurs after a one-year “gestation” process
- Several churches make a commitment to start a new church in a given area
- Each church gives people and resources to the new church
Cell or House Church Model
- Start with a core group that multiplies when it reaches 12-15
- Meets in homes of the members
- Continue multiplying groups
- Starts with the death of a current congregation
- Loses the identity of the former church and adopts a new identity, vision and mission, usually reaching a different group or culture of people
- Church building sits empty for not less than six months
Basic Merger Model
- Two or more congregations join together to become one.
- Usually not an effective model and generally results in the combined average attendance being the same as the larger of the merged churches within two years.
- Larger church absorbs smaller church
- Leadership and primary ministries of larger church supplements smaller church
- DNA of the larger church replaces DNA of smaller church
- Merger of two or more congregations
- Sell all property (excluding parsonage) and relocate to a new location
- Establish a new Mission and Vision aimed at the new mission field
Relocation New Church Model
- Moving the church to a new location for missional purposes
- Changing the name of the old church
- Viewing itself as a different church, not the same church in a different location
Church within a church
- A new faith community reaching a different mission field other than the primary congregation (racial-ethnic, generational, economic, etc.)
- Developing a new mission, vision and core values and discipleship system
Organic Model/Missional Church Model
- A new faith community that exists without much of the organizational structure of an attractional church model
- Is a “simple church” experience which has the propensity to meet anywhere; with or without trained leaders, formal liturgy, programs or structures
- The process of moving from worship to small group, small group to mission work, and mission work to worship is a primary focus as every disciple is empowered to carry the mission of God into every sphere of life
Laity-led new starts
- A congregation started by laity
- The lay-planter is almost always bi-vocational
- After the church grows to 75-100 they request a pastor
Surprise starts/Unplanned pregnancy
- A new church starts because of a church split
- A church from another denomination wants to become United Methodist