Recently, the Northern Virginia Pioneer Learning Community kicked off with a mixture of participants—some who are in the midst of starting fresh expressions of church, and some who are in the early idea stages of getting their churches involved in a fresh expression initiative.
Along the Spectrum
For those who are in the early stages, we are discovering that there is a good bit of “deconstruction” work to be done. Some assumptions, cultures, and long-established ways of “doing church” have to be thoughtfully deconstructed and examined so as to set the foundation for the development of a fresh expression.
For those who are in the midst of the work, we are having lots of conversations around the balance of being organic (attentive and flexible in the moment) and intentional (thoughtful about where we’re trying to go and how we might get there). Because there are no turn-by-turn roadmaps for fresh expressions of church, this is an ongoing navigational challenge.
In each of the cases, the practice of listening continues to arise: Listening as a practice that shapes a new ministry, and listening as the practice that continues to inform and reshape a developing ministry.
The Beauty of Diverse Expressions of Church
From an intentional mentoring community for men who are struggling, to a rural Virginian community with no “third places,” to a Messy Church in a mission center, to a nascent praying community involving police officers, to microbusinesses in an inner city neighborhood, to pub church, the Spirit is stirring to life new initiatives that have the potential to become church for their unique contexts.
Join us in praying for these pioneers as they seek to be faithful to join with God on mission in the world!
Shannon serves as Director of Training, leading our team of mission strategists and trainers in the development and implementation of the Mission Shaped Ministry course through Pioneer Learning Communities. She is also a pastor on staff with Riverside Church in Sterling, VA, a Church that worships in two languages and engages in several Fresh Expressions of Church. In the last several years, Shannon has been involved with the Presbyterian Church’s New Worshiping Communities initiative, and has directed the coaching network that supports pioneer leaders. Shannon lives in Springfield, VA with her husband Patrick and teenage daughters Catherine and Suzanne.