05 April 2006

The Celtic Way

I'm preparing for my last class of the Missions History topic I'm teaching for the MA in Missional Leadership degree offered by Together in Mission and is accredited through the University of Wales. I teach this topic and the Basic Church Planting topic, when it's offered locally, and on occasion, a little further afield (Birmingham Christian College and north London, 2 different venues, last month). When I took the class with Tim Doty at Northwest Christian College, now over 20 years ago, it was called 'The History of the Expansion of the World Christian Movement.'

Part of the topic has to do with what it would take for a movement to be fostered, such that people come to love, trust, and follow Jesus, and share that naturally and contagiously with others. In the class, we look briefly at the Celtic and Roman models of church. So I was intrigued today when I came across a review of Hunter's recent(ish) book in He@lthyChurch.mag.co.uk, where the reviewer highlights the different model the Celts used as compared to the Romans in their Christian mission outreach. He cites Hunter's view that the Roman model stresses:

Presentation ---> Decision ---> Fellowship

whereas the Celtic model stresses:

Fellowship ---> Ministry & Conversations ---> Belief ---> Invitation to Commitment

I have to say that I really like the approach of the the second, and I think it fits well culturally in the Western world; in fact, I would say it's the crying need of the Western world to see church done this way!

The problem is, the institutional church only knows the Roman model. It will either take a turnaround in most existing churches to foster the kind of church which follows the Celtic model, or the planting of many new churches where this kind of life is experienced and people are then persuaded that Jesus is a leader that can be trusted.

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