Magazine article Anglican Journal

In God's Slipstream: Church Pioneers Urged to Get Behind Him

Magazine article Anglican Journal

In God's Slipstream: Church Pioneers Urged to Get Behind Him

Article excerpt

At the Feb. 2-4 Vital Church Planting conference in Toronto, the U.K.'s Rev. David Male imagined the future by suggesting that pioneering church planters committed to expanding the mission-shaped church should "keep in the slipstream of God."

During his inspirational keynote address, Male compared the difficult and uncharted work of church pioneering to competitive cycling. Key to long-term survival in this gruelling sport is to stay within centimetres of the rider ahead without colliding. In cycling parlance, riding in the slipstream means staying in the low-pressure area found in the space immediately behind a cyclist. For someone riding in this low-resistance zone, a process known as "drafting," the effort required to maintain the same speed is much reduced.

"You are literally that close to the guy in front of you, but [his effort] makes it easier for you to cycle," said Male, who is a tutor in pioneer mission training at Ridley Hall, an Anglican theological college in Cambridge. Male is also director of the Centre for Pioneer Learning, "That presents us with an image of what we are called to do--keep in the slipstream of God because it is so hard to predict the future," he told delegates to this year's conference, entitled "The Missional Roadmap." In looking to what lies ahead, Male said, "Listen to the whisper of the spirit."

He also warned church pioneers not to fall into the trap of tarting up a bankrupt, old-model church in contemporary disguise to try to attract the unchurched. …

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