Posting Threads: New Language for Church Planting in the 21st Century

Welcome back.

This is part two of “The Best of the Mystic.” Some of you know that I began bloggin on Xanga and that the xanga tool does not allow easy exporting of posts. So, I’ve decided to rescue what I consider the “Best of…”

I consider these three posts to be some of the most important [if not the most important] we’ve had on the mission of the church in the 21st century. This was posted on April 25, 26 and 27 and cumulatively provoked some 65 comments. It is absolutely essential reading for understanding the language of The Mystic. Enjoy.

April 25

Brian Russell asks a brilliant question on his blog: Is there a better term than church plant to describe new churches?

Brian observes that this term “church plant” is “rooted” and “immobile” and asks if there aren’t better images [as opposed to “plants”] that might better convey a sense of motion. I think “spreading a virus” is cool except for the feeling of needing to wash my hands again.

April 26

Welcome back.

niza and a sideways upright

Came in early this morning from a late night recording session. I always try to post before midnight but the session went over. Here’s where we’re at with the list. Let’s keep it going.

Dynamic images/metaphors to use in place of the too “rooted” image “church plant”…

church birth
spreading a virus
church lurch
church spring
faith infection
Subversion cell
Kingdom coming
Doing life together
viral infection
infestation
plague
catalyst
revolution
church venture
church seed
church foundation
church exploration
faith outcry
new body movement
action faction
environment
crash
crowd
ignition
pyromania
corps (crash of rhinos preparing for service)

April 27

Welcome back.

Our list of images/metaphors to replace “plant” for the task of creating new churches provokes the imagination. A couple of images come to mind. As bloggers and savvy internet users, the first is one we can all relate to: “starting a thread.” [And yes, I’m trying to add “blogger” to your self identity –if you havent’ already added it — because this will have a lot to do with iMosaic. [Note: we’re replacing “iMosaic” with something else. Right now “voxtropolis.com” is the leading contender].

me playing a tibetan singing bowl

A “thread” is a term used often in online classes and conversations. For example, within the conversation environment of this blog, many of you have started new conversations sparked by the conversation that is already taking place here. These conversations are a kind of thread that weaves in and out of our general conversations. In some of my online classes, students have the tool to add “threads” [a kind of “link” –another interesting image] to the conversations based on questions or interests they have. Others then interact with the question or idea posed by the new thread.

When a Christ following leader engages a community in a conversation or initiates a new relationship with a nonbeliever, he begins a new thread. These conversations, of course, are guided by the environment created by the spirit of Jesus that heals the world and yet they are also spontaneous and free to develop in their own way.

Start a new thread today. Have coffee with someone who has not yet believed. Or…Engage a group of nonbelieving friends in a conversation around the scriptures. Or…Ask Christ followers what would need to happen for us to live our lives for someone other than ourselves today.

Christ following leaders starting new threads. That’s one of the main ways the story of Jesus intersects the story of us.

Other related images…”link” or “Mblog. How about “host”?

What do you think?

into the mystic…

Alex McManus

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6 thoughts on “Posting Threads: New Language for Church Planting in the 21st Century

  1. i confess i’m not a big fan of the term “church plant” either so i don’t feel the need to defend it, but i can’t say that the term “posting threads” is any more appealing. for one thing it seems far too exclusionary to be used widely. i, like you no doubt, move in circles which are highly enamoured with the blogosphere and which can largely be characterized as “affluent,” Western (re: North American or European), and educated. put out an interesting report at the begiining of the year entitled and it included this data set on American bloggers:

    • Men: 57% are male
    • Young: 48% are under age 30
    • Broadband users: 70% have broadband at home
    • Internet veterans: 82% have been online for six years or more
    • Relatively well off financially: 42% live in households earning over $50,000
    • Well educated: 39% have college or graduate degrees

    it further said that 68% of American internet users don’t even know what a blog is, much less what “posting a thread” means – and if 68% of American internet users don’t know what a blog is I would imagine that it is even more obscure to the majority of the global population. now, if the group we are targeting happens to be that described by the numbers above then the term “thread posting” might be a good one but i can’t imagine that it would ever be suited to use in describing the work of the global Christian movement because it simply leaves too many people out of the loop. like i said i’m not a big fan of the term “church plant” but its not really symantics that bother me but a desire to have a term that better captures the organic, natural, outflow of community building and transformation that should characterize the life of Christ followers. Just some thoughts – i wish i had a better option to offer . . .

  2. hmmm . . . html acting funny, lets try that again . . .

    i confess i’m not a big fan of the term “church plant” either so i don’t feel the need to defend it, but i can’t say that the term “posting threads” is any more appealing. for one thing it seems far too exclusionary to be used widely. i, like you no doubt, move in circles which are highly enamoured with the blogosphere and which can largely be characterized as “affluent,” Western (re: North American or European), and educated. The Pew Internet and American Life Project put out an interesting report at the begiining of the year entitled The State of Blogging and it included this data set on American bloggers:

    • Men: 57% are male
    • Young: 48% are under age 30
    • Broadband users: 70% have broadband at home
    • Internet veterans: 82% have been online for six years or more
    • Relatively well off financially: 42% live in households earning over $50,000
    • Well educated: 39% have college or graduate degrees

    it further said that 68% of American internet users don’t even know what a blog is, much less what “posting a thread” means – and if 68% of American internet users don’t know what a blog is I would imagine that it is even more obscure to the majority of the global population. now, if the group we are targeting happens to be that described by the numbers above then the term “thread posting” might be a good one but i can’t imagine that it would ever be suited to use in describing the work of the global Christian movement because it simply leaves too many people out of the loop. like i said i’m not a big fan of the term “church plant” but its not really symantics that bother me but a desire to have a term that better captures the organic, natural, outflow of community building and transformation that should characterize the life of Christ followers. Just some thoughts – i wish i had a better option to offer . . .

  3. As a church planter, I’ve struggled with this very issue. However, in essence, I’ve been starting threads with my team, and with new friends. Now, I need to weave them together into a tapestry of conversations and relationships that will become the body. Thanks for the metaphor!

  4. I like the weaving idea. That is exactly what we are doing as we start new churches and bring people into God’s kingdom.

  5. Hello,
    I am having trouble with my Internet explorer.It is doing some very odd things.Sometimes it will completely close the page i am visiting for no reason or it will be very slow loading pages and when i say slow i mean very very very slow for eg i tried to google something and after 10 minutes of the page trying to load i gave up.I thought that it was perhaps the topic i was searching so i tried putting in random things to see if that made any difference but it didn’t.Another problem i had was when i was on a forum and clicked on a link and nothing happened i tried to open a new tab and that wouldn’t work either and it would let me access any options that are in my tools menu.i had to restart my computer.Just to let you know i have high speed Internet connection.Thanks in advance to anyone that helps me with this problem.

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