Reposted from: https://baptist.org.uk/Publisher/Article.aspx?ID=653738
A series of conversations about shaping an online Baptist missional community. By Simon Goddard and Nathan McGuire
Many Baptist churches discovered the online space out of necessity during the pandemic. Some decided to stream their services, and others discovered that community be just as real in the digital space. After the lockdowns, several churches explored what being a hybrid church would look like, whilst many returned to on-site only gatherings as soon as they could. In February 2021, however, a different conversation began – one that asked the question what might a Baptist expression of church planted in the digital space look like? Since then, a small group has been working in partnership with the Baptists Together Specialist Teams to create the constitutional framework of transform.church, which was recently registered with the Charity Commission and welcomed into membership of Baptists Together. We are now looking for individuals within our Baptist movement who have the skills and passion to help shape a national Baptist digital expression of the church. We are hosting three online events and inviting all interested, particularly those aged 18-35, to participate in one or more of these conversations. 10am-12noon, 10 February 2023 – Register here 7.30pm-9.30pm, 22 March 2023 – Register here 10am-12noon, 10 May 2023 – Register here This conversation is not an exercise in simply working out how to ‘do church’ online – but rather an exploration of what it means to ‘be church’ in the 21st century. Asking questions, for example, about:
How a digital expression of church could equip, empower and release a generation of missional disciples committed to kingdom transformation?
How we might help individuals to connect widely in the digital space but dwell deeply in the communities and networks in which they live, work and play?
How we might provide a community for the growing number of ‘churchless faithful’, who are called to live as authentic followers of Jesus, but who struggle to do this within inherited expressions of church?
Church, at its best, is a movement of disciple-makers, engaging in both mission and evangelism – being catalysts of God’s coming kingdom whilst not neglecting the privilege we have of introducing people to Jesus. To this end, we’re currently describing transform.church in terms of commitments to kingdom transformation in each of the four dimensions and the two directions of holistic missional discipleship. The four dimensions are: With God – knowing and following Jesus, in doing the will of the Father and living in the power of the Spirit; With people – loving our neighbours, pursuing justice, embodying grace and mercy; With the planet – through generous gratitude for, and good stewardship of, the natural world; With ourselves – developing our character, discerning our calling, and making our unique contribution. The two directions are: Inward – personal growth and transformation in each of the four dimensions of following Jesus; Outward – offering transformation to others through opportunities to encounter and follow Jesus. In early 2023 we are seeking to broaden the trustee body, and grow a wider team of supporters, advisors and start-up funders. We hope that this will enable a formal launch of transform.church later in the year. We’re praying that as we invite God’s Spirit to use us in the online space, we’ll be part of a new #digitalpentecost. If you’re interested in being part of this, or want to know more, please come to one of the online conversations, or get in touch.