I am starting to share my appointment plan for 2011-12 with various people. So far had conversations with Rochelle Melander, Jim Conn, Kelvin Sauls, Judy Chung, Catie Coots, Mark Ulrickson and today Beth Ann Estock, who is the Director of New Faith Communities for the Oregon/Idaho Conference of the United Methodist Church.
In each conversation I have been sharing what I am thinking of launching and then getting any feedback. The big feedback I had early on was I was attempting too much in too short a period of time. I heard that from both Rochelle and Jim and so I changed the plan to have more prep time before the launch of the training in January with the start of the house church network and 10 house churches at Easter. This does make good sense as I know it is my tendency to do too much, so advice taken!
Everyone has expressed excitement and energy about the proposal and that has been both surprising and great. It is so weird to put forth something like this cause even though I do believe this is where God is leading me out of my experience there are times I just think, gee, I who do I think I am to do something like this??!!
I mostly ignore that voice –for the most part–as the tug to move on this is pretty strong (and I try to ignore those voices in my head anyway J).
This week I saw an article on Path 1 site (http://umcnewchurchstarts.org/?p=392) by Beth and thought she might be someone who could help me. I emailed her and she got right back to me; today we had a chance to talk. Here is some of what was helpful to me:
+Micro grants: doesn’t Cal-Pac BCD have $ for this kind of new project? Other Conferences do (for funds between $1000-8000). If house churches are set up for local churches maybe down the road they could contribute financially.
+The model I am looking at is part of our future for the UMC.
+Elaine Heath is a good resource for us.
+What can make this a UMC house church network is we use Wesley’s Means of Grace in faith formation and that we link these to local churches. This is important scaffolding. It is about practice (in contrast to it being all about belief).
+Something to do early on in the process is to meet with the pastors at local UMC in the communities where you want to set this up. This can be a win-win for them/local church and house church.
+Look at the “Lay Missionary Planting Network” materials. These could be part of the training for House Church planters.
+Her experience with her home church gave me some good ideas on what a house church can do. Ideas sprung from the question, “How do you connect with Spirit?” Out of that came experiencing around nature, bible study, cooking, music. Clergy functioned as resource person and the “I have your back” person so all feel supported and resourced.
+What works is often organic
+One way you can be bi-vocational is by pastoring a small church that only needs Sunday preaching and pastoral care while building new ministries.
Good conversations and ideas as I work on this….