At AND: Being the Church at church at Home and Everywhere In Between, you’ll have the opportunity to learn from women and men who have helped make fresh expressions of Church a growing worldwide phenomenon. We’re excited that Dr. David Fitch is joining us once again as a featured speaker.
David Fitch has pastored and participated in many church plants, including Life on the Vine Christian Community a missional church in the Northwest Suburbs of Chicago of the Christian and Missionary Alliance. He is also the B. R. Lindner Chair of Evangelical Theology at Northern Seminary Chicago, IL.
Dr. Fitch has authored many books, including The End of Evangelicalism? Discerning a New Faithfulness for Mission, The Great Giveaway: Reclaiming the Mission of the Church from American Business, Para-Church Organizations, Psychotherapy, Consumer Capitalism and Other Modern Maladies, and Prodigal Christianity: 10 Signposts into the Missional Frontier with co-author Geoff Holsclaw.
He is active in helping with church plants as fresh expressions of Church, serving as a coach with various organizations and denominations. He regularly write about this on his blog. For example:
Church planting in United States and Canada has been traditionally all about gathering a large crowd, making a big splash in a community and building a building. Success is measured by how big and how fast. Though I recognize there is some legitimacy in gathering converts quickly. This can happen within Christendom parts of America where indeed what we’re doing in church planting is “upgrading” church and making it more relevant for the children of Christian parents who have lost interest in their parents’ form of church. This I suggest still has some validity. But in more parts of America and Canada we are no longer converting the children of Christian parents. There are less and less left who are interested in Christianity. We are in essence therefore left to plant communities in mission. The goal is not making Christianity more relevant to dormant Christians or children of Christians. It is to be a new witness to the Kingdom in a place that lacks such an expression. This ‘shift’ fundamentally changes our expectations for what a church plant should look like.
Read the entire post here.
Is It Hard to Start a New Church?
Dr. Fitch addresses the question “is Church Planting hard work?” in this video. Much of his response applies to the work of starting fresh expressions as well.
The Missional Table
In this video, Dr. Fitch teaches on the Lord’s Table, the importance of presence, and the extension of Christ’s Table into the world.
How Reconciliation Works
Another important post on his blog looks at the spiritual practice of reconciliation and why it is, by nature, missional.
The default modus operandi of Americans when working for racial reconciliation is to work for change in the government systems that mediate justice. We look to change laws, the racial composition of police forces, or school systems, etc. etc. All of this has its place. But the first move of the church is to open space for presence, where people come together face to face, listen, confess their sins, make things right, discern the future. In these local spaces of presence Jesus promises to be present. Here what is bound on earth is bound in heaven. Here the Kingdom authority of heaven bursts in and disrupts the antagonisms and violence of our day. It is the prolepsis of the Kingdom of God. From here laws can be changed, governments changed, and a new world begun.
Read the entire post here.
Reimagining a Prodigal Church
Theology on Mission
Drs. Fitch and Holsclaw have followed up their book with a podcast entitled Theology on Mission.
Some of the topics they have delved into include: