Plymouth is currently about to have a city-wide Bishops Missionary Order (BMO) imposed without proper consultation because although there has been letters of consultation written in a spirit of consultation, the decision has clearly been already made and these unashamed Church Plants are coming, with a remit to create more plants.
Both the HTB plant in the city and these BMOs are simple clones of the Mothership with little reflection on the needs of the communities they have been cuckooed into. Their model strips other Churches of people in a massive top-funded snowball. Oh, and a BMO get you excused paying quota, so they have Mothership funding, Church Commission funding and no quota pressures. Is it not any wonder that they look all shiny?
Resource Churches are another bait and switch to garner central funding from the Strategic Development Fund (SDF) without playing the game. The only resourcing they are interested in is spawning their way of doing things. Actual quote: “Our worship leader will teach yours how to worship properly”.
The takeover of Theological Education through S. Mellitus will embed this deep into the Church of England for a century.
Because it is sexy, numerically beguiling (few actual converts, but look! lots of people come to our church!) and backed by SDF funding, Church Plants are going to undermine the whole Church of England and the Bishops have been seduced into letting this happen. You have to subscribe to the doctrine of church planting, but I feel like its the emperor’s new clothes story, and I am at last compelled to call out this strategy’s nakedness.
Pioneering, however does not come with a set agenda. It does not have the solution ready to pull off the shelf and implement. That makes it harder, but makes it more authentic, embedded. Proper pioneering should come from the opposite direction, from the locality. Unfortunately, this is less sexy, less well-quantifiable and not really capable therefore of top down funding because you can’t just throw money at it.
Church Plants are taking over. And there is nothing we can do about them. Don’t say I didn’t warn you