When a shiny new Church Plant (usually from a shiny church in central west London) appears like a cuckoo in a city – in a reasonably affluent area or an area saturated with students, one of the phrases used to calm us is that it will be a “resource church” which on the face of it, does not sound like a bad thing at all.
“Oh good,” we think, “maybe some of those shiny resources can be put to good use in my slightly less shiny parish”, “perhaps they might have a screen or PA we could borrow, or even a working photocopier”, “I wonder if they might have some shiny young people to help us leaflet the estate about our mission to the elderly there…”
But such hopes are quickly dashed as the pre-existing congregation are levered out of their not very shiny church and abandoned as they focus relentlessly on a growth strategy that initially strips all the young people out of other churches into the remodelled (how did they get that through the DAC so quickly? Money still clearly talks…) new interior where the boring old essentials of Anglicanism are relegated to the back to be forgotten, as a Cafe is open before each service serving “absolutely divine coffee”
As for the resources they have on offer for us? Well, the transplanted Vicar, Curate, “Worship Leader” and Administrator are very willing to resource the entire church… Why not send your people to one of their Discipleship or Beginners Courses? Why not gather all the “worship leaders” together and our Worship Leader can show them how finally to do it right. It’s funny, because I always thought the leading of Worship was the primary responsibility of the Vicar, Curate, Reader etc. Not just some bloke with a guitar (Fr Robb being the obvious exception to this).
What they want to resource us with is their way of doing things, to insinuate themselves into each and every parish until, rather like McDonald’s Franchises they come to be the bland, homogenised face of Christendom. If your face does not fit this shiny model of church: if you don’t have the same responses as them, share the same sexuality or gender then they can’y help
As an aside, I am amazed that there is not a single woman involved here who is not married to a ‘minister’ – it seems to be the only way they are allowed to minister, because someone in this resource church needs to have a penis somewhere it would appear. It seems that capable and spiritual women are reduced to smiling add-ons with great teeth, beautiful hair and a better class of theology degree that they simply are not allowed to properly utilise in proper ministry because of a single casual line in a pastoral letter of Paul. But I digress.
If your taste leans towards valuing the sacraments that Jesus and his bride, the Church have used for centuries and if guitar and drums don’t always work for you, then I am afraid, we can’t resource you.
You aren’t resourceable. Even though we must be Jews to the Jews and Greeks to the Greeks, that we must make our ministry as protean as Paul was prepared to do at the Areopagus, these resources come in only one form and in only one spirituality.
Tough. Our tanks are here on the lawn now. We are taking over.