Church planting: The work of the Spirit

Church planting: The work of the Spirit

Through human witness in word and action, and in the power of the Holy Spirit, Christ reaches out to command people’s attention and awaken faith; he calls people into the fellowship of his sufferings, to be the disciples of a crucified Lord; in his own strange way Christ constitutes, rules and renews them as his Church.

  • Basis of Union, Para 4

The Uniting Church, as a pilgrim people on the way, has long and rich history of joining the mission of God to see new communities of disciples formed as Christ has drawn people into relationship & discipleship to be a people of reconciliation, justice and grace. Any discussion of “church planting” must be deeply rooted in the fundamental reality that it is Christ who constitutes, rules, and renews his church.

Church planting as such is not the work of an organisation, it is the work of the Spirit. However, God invites those of us who are called to serve the organisational life of the church, through its various inter-related councils, to prayerfully and proactively join in God’s mission to create the organisational culture and practical pathways, systems, and resources by which new expressions of the church can be seeded, take root, and ultimately flourish.

Future Directions for the People of God on the Way envisions the Uniting Church as a contemporary, courageous and growing church. A key aspect of seeing this vision come to life will be forming new congregations and faith communities – responding to new contexts in worship, witness, and service.

These new churches should reflect the diversity of the communities in which they are embedded and the unique gifts, calling & charisms of those who lead and join these communities of faith.

As part of the outworking of the Future Directions, a paper will be coming to Synod 2023 that invites the Uniting Church to increase our efforts in discerning together how we encourage, support, and resource the planting of new communities of faith across the Synod.

Glen Spencer

Director of Mission


1 thought on “Church planting: The work of the Spirit”

  1. Thanks Glen. I like your use of the word ‘seeding’ . 30 yrs ago the Synod’s then Board of Mission worked so hard to remove the term ‘church planting’ from its vocabulary, instead favouring “seeding the gospel” in contextually appropriate ways; in distinction from church planting which perpetuated contextually inappropriate ways of being church.
    Fresh expressions and emerging church have redeemed the term a little, but I think we can do better than ‘church planting’ because it puts the emphasis on the wrong thing.
    All the best with the paper going to Synod.

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