Streams of Renewal

Our festival of imagination will explore four streams of renewal within the Western Church–emerging, missional, mosaic (or multicultural) and monastic. But what do these terms mean? We devoted four issues of our monthly e-zine, the Seed Sampler, to each of the four streams. The lead article from each, written by Tom Sine, gives an overview of the streams and are posted below. If you would like to receive the Seed Sampler each month, click here and enter your email address in the box to the left.



Touring the Emerging Stream

By Tom Sine, Mustard Seed Associates

As we race into a very uncertain future, the Western Church is facing some daunting challenges: declining numbers and a seeming inability to engage younger people, including many who were raised in the church. In response, God is conspiring with a new generation of creative, risk-taking Jesus-followers to imagine and create new expressions of church. In my upcoming book entitled The New Conspirators: Creating the Future One Mustard Seed at a Time (February 2008, InterVarsity Press), I organize this new generation into four streams: eMerging, Missional, Mosaic (or multicultural) and Monastic. Four of the next five Seed Samplers will focus on one stream of conspirators.

Brian McLaren, discussing the emerging church, observes a distinguishing perspective of young Christians: “It’s not about the church meeting your needs; it’s about joining the mission of God’s people to meet the world’s needs.” Those involved in this stream almost always tend to be more outwardly seeking to engage urgent needs in their communities and the larger world.

To read the whole article, click here.



Missional Stream: Consider Moving Mission to the Center of Congregational Life

By Tom Sine, Mustard Seed Associates

For too many of us faith has become simply another commodity to consume, whether we do it by attending worship on Sunday morning or turning to online resources. Too often in our hyper-individualistic society, the focus of churches is really is all about meeting our own needs and our kids’ needs.

The strong, outwardly missional focus of the early church gave way to the institutionalization of the church after Constantine, which set the stage for this very consumer-oriented form of church. After the institutionalization of the church, the de facto view of mission, born out of both the Catholic and the Protestant Reformed church, shifted inwardly and became primarily focused on meeting the needs of the people inside the building. Except for the occasional missions conference, this has become the normal model of today. In fact, while most churches we work with in Britain, Australia and New Zealand typically sponsor 2-4 ministries in their local communities, most of the churches we work with in North America, while supporting global mission, don’t sponsor a single ministry in their own cities and states. Is it too much to challenge every congregation to actually create one or two ministries to address the needs of those in their community?

To read the whole article, click here.


Intro to the Mosaic Stream

By Tom Sine, Mustard Seed Associates

In the UK, more churches were planted in the last seven years than Starbucks were opened—over 1,000 churches as compared to only 750 Starbucks coffee shops. Interestingly, most of these church plants were ethnic and multi-cultural.

God is doing something new through a new generation, as I report in The New Conspirators: Creating the Future One Mustard Seed at a Time, which will be published by IVP in 2008. I believe God is working through at least four streams: the emerging church, missional churches, mosaic church plants and the monastic movement. We have received very positive responses to the two most recent Seed Samplers the emerging and missional streams. This issue will attempt to describe what God is doing through those in the mosaic stream, which I define as multi-cultural church plants. While the emerging and missional leadership is overwhelmingly male and white, in this stream, God is doing something new through leaders from a number of different cultures.

To read the whole article, click here.


Modern Monasticism

By Tom Sine, Mustard Seed Associates

God is doing something new through a new generation of conspirators that we can all learn from and be a part of as we enter a new year and an increasingly uncertain future. To join these new conspirators, all it takes is inviting God to use our mustard seeds in creative new ways to be a difference and make a difference.

The monastic stream is different from the other three streams in several important ways. First, most of the groups in the monastic stream have no interest in church planting. Second, while large numbers of twenty- and thirty-year-olds are involved, it is also comprised of a larger number of the over-forty crowd than the other three streams. It is also significantly more multicultural and multinational than the emerging and missional streams.

These conspirators raise more questions about what it means to be disciples of Jesus, to be the church and to do the mission of the church than any of the other streams. Though the people involved in new monastic experiments tend to come from evangelical backgrounds, they are being drawn into the richness of the Catholic, Orthodox, Celtic and Anglican monastic traditions.

Read the whole article here.



3 Responses to “Streams of Renewal”

  1. […] In the last five years, there has been an array of conferences and “learning parties” on the emerging church. Since we at MSA believe that God is at work through the innovators and risk-takers of more movements than just the emerging church, we will bring together the leaders of four streams of renewal: Missional, Mosaic, Monastic and, of course, Emerging. To read about the streams, click here. […]

  2. […] here.  it is going to be an interactive, participatory conference focused on these four primary streams:  the monastic, the missional, the emerging, and the mosaic.   on my myspace, the first person […]

  3. […] From Tom Sine’s Emerging, Missional, Mosaic, and Monastic; […]

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