Churches that are serious about reaching their communities are finding creative ways to reach out. There is an increased interest in church planting, which will be given a full chapter later. Aside from church planting there is a movement for “Multiple Venues for Mission.” It may be multiple expressions of the church – all on the same campus to reach different personality segments. It may be multiple services as well, but not so much due to great growth. Rather, it is trying to reach different segments of the surrounding community and maintain growth on a bunch of different levels. Finally, there may be multiple locations, which we’re trying to do in Seal Beach just a few miles away from our church in Cypress. There are a lot of ways and reasons for multi-sites to exist, but a definition by Elmer Towns is a good one: “…one church meeting in many locations … a multi-staffed church, meeting in multi-locations, offering multi-ministries, with a single identity, single organization, single purpose, (and) single force of leadership” (in Stetzer p. 112).
The next section discusses the growing trend of House or Koinos Churches. These are relational church settings that meet in homes and often in networks of home meetings, but these are not part of a larger Sunday gathering. These meetings, so long as they do what churches do, are a church. This growing movement among evangelicals indicates that there is some interest in missional approaches in evangelical circles.
Stetzer finally looks at some different things that are happening around the world to reach people within specific communities, including a youth church in Berlin, a house church for Japanese nurses, and a factory mission in Hong Kong.
Seems there are plenty of ways to build the church if we’re willing to re-think church in some ways.
The Breaking the Code Challenge
1. If the code is to be broken in your community, what are some new types or expressions of church that need to be considered?
2. Who are specific people living in your community that may require a new expression of church?
3. What practical steps can your church take in order to reach people groups, population segments, and/or cultural environments?