One of the advantages to leading a church in a country where few people go to church is that you can be creative.
That's what's behind the Fresh Expressions movement in the U.K. - where David Male has the job of training 'pioneer missionaries.'
These are folks are entrepreneurs and innovators who listen for the Spirit's voice outside church walls - and are creating congregations in some invigorating ways.
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There's not 'one way' to do church anymore - different contexts are giving birth to different kinds of congregations. Here are my notes from the interview:
The Rise of Spirituality Not Atheism
Given the rise of a number of British high-profile, neo-atheists, one would think the UK's forgotten about God. Not so, says David Male, who says there's been an even larger rise in spiritual questing - which has birthed a number of 'fresh expressions.'
Take Time to Listen
When church planters were asked to pass along their most important piece of advice to other church planters it was nearly unanimous: take time to listen, from the beginning, to God, community, and context. Prayer and attention to the place of ministry is crucial.
Repurposing Is In
Some churches are hosting cafes (standing-room only), markets, even a post office - and reclaiming their relevancy in today's world. What kinds of partnerships is your church awaiting?
About David Male
The Reverend David Male is Tutor in Pioneer Mission Training at Ridley Hall, Cambridge, UK. He is also the Director of the Centre for Pioneer Learning and Fresh Expressions Adviser for Ely Diocese. David served for seven years Vicar of the Net Church, Huddersfield. This 'network type' church, which he started with a small team, was one of the pioneers of fresh expressions in this country, and is the first church mentioned in the Mission Shaped Church report.
He helps Dioceses and churches throughout the church think about and develop fresh expressions of church and church plants. He is an Associate Missioner of the Fresh Expressions team and Leader of the Mission Shaped Ministry Course for Cambridge and Suffolk. He has also been regularly working in Australia, Canada and the USA helping to encourage pioneers and help the church in these countries consider how they might connect with people outside the church. David has written or contributed to Church Unplugged: Remodelling Church without losing your soul, Pioneers 4 Life, (BRF), and The Word's Out, (BRF) Married to Heather, they have 3 children, Jenny, Holly and Callum. He loves playing and watching most sports which involve a ball and no water! He is an avid Huddersfield Town fan. His other interests include the media, films and eating!