Wednesday, August 06, 2008
Old School Missional
We may be gaining new victories over the devil, the world and the flesh, even while here. Let it be our earnest endeavour to maintain this holy warfare within our breasts; and while we drink freely of the fountain of life, let us not forget to present its waters to that world which is 'dead in trespasses and sins.' John Urquhart, 30 June 1826
John Urquhart was a 17 year old student at St. Andrews, Scotland, studying under the tutelage of Thomas Chalmers. The good doctor trained young John in teaching Sunday school and would meet with him on Sunday evenings to go over how the lesson went and any room for improvement. During the week they would then go house to house in visitation and preaching the gospel.
As Piggin and Roxburgh note:
There were not enough labourers. So in this same session 'a new system' was tried. The favourably disposed in every corner of the town were asked to allow their neighbours to meet in their homes to hear the Gospel. Sometimes fifty or sixty people attended, many of whom never entered a church. Chalmers had to admit that while not up to his ideal, this scheme was far more effective than 'common preaching', adding in a typical simile: 'It was like carrying about the magnet, and bringing it near to the iron filings.' (pp. 79-80)
"Carrying about the magnet" describes beautifully what our church is attempting to do with our New City Project. We are a small church with no permanent building. We are located mere miles from several large churches and one mega church that attracts people from throughout the whole city. It would literally take millions of dollars and hundreds more people (and stuff) to become a "magnet church." Instead we will be able to mobilize many small magnets to where the unchurched and our church people live. Our Assistant Pastor of Mission John Ferguson will be moving about the city looking to where the "iron filings" are collecting in significant numbers through our small groups that will function like Urquharts Gospel groups. One church in Austin calls these city groups - - groups of Christians living like the City of God welcoming neighbours to hear the hope of all things new in the non-threatening context of homes where the faith is "felt and telt" (to steal from an old Scottish preacher).
We firmly believe that the only way to reach and transform a city of one million plus people is to take the magnet to the shavings, seeing them forgiven, healed and transformed to unite their lives and all of life under the gracious rule of our Saviour King.
If you would like to give to this venture contact me via the comments and I can get you the donation information for your appropriate location (US or Canada).