Don’t try to Graft new shoots

A lot of our approach has been about how do you grow church from scratch with young people. This is not to say we do this in a vacuum and we seek to reimagine drawing on Bible, Culture, and Tradition (more here). New seeds are planted in fresh soil and tender new shoots/groups emerge. To nurture these saplings one thing we have learnt is that using the word ‘church’ WITH the young people to describe/question what is emerging is helpful, both as a reference point and resource. It helps create the space to dialogue about what is emerging, connecting it tradition, and with care can be used to help co-create and shape the new community. As many of these groups start from scratch without preconceived ideas of faith, as the new community emerges young people begin to connect with others within the christian tradition attending more mainstream expressions of church. At one level this is a really helpful part of the journey as it brings a sense of other, and resource (drawing on the tradition part of the triangle) as the emerging community begins to find it’s feet. A problem is that the more traditional expressions may fail to understand and value the emerging church and so seek to graft on the new sapling to what is already happening. At its heart this attempted graft is generally well meaning but inevitably a top down approach, that undervalues the journey taken so far with the emerging community and the bottom up approach to leadership, truth, that initially enabled the co-creation of the new community.
How can we encourage a generosity of spirit in the more mainstream churches, that will enable emerging expressions to emerge in the way they need to?