Thursday, July 14, 2016

The mission of the local Church

What can we learn from the past about the mission of the local Church. There is an insightful and practical lecture here about how Thomas Chalmers initiated this in a very degraded, underclass area of Edinburgh in the early Victorian times. It has significant practical pointers as to what we can learn today. Much of the strategies for church extension and planting today are what Chalmers speaks against in the following quotation:
“Now the specific business which we would like to put into the hands of a Christian minister is, not that he should fill his church any how – that he may do by the superior attractiveness of his preaching, at the expense of previous congregations, and without any movement in advance on the practical heathenism of the community: But what we want is, to place his church in the middle of such a territory as we have now specified and to lay upon him a task, for the accomplishment of which we should allow him to the labour and preference of a whole lifetime; not to fill his church any how, but to fill this church out of that district. We should give him the charge over head, of one and all of its families; and tell him, that, instead of seeking hearers from without, he should so shape and regulate his movements, that, as far as possible, his church-room might all be taken up by hearers from within. It is this peculiar relation between his church, and its contiguous households, all placed within certain geographical limits, that distinguishes him from the others as a territorial minister.”
– Thomas Chalmers