July 6, 2013

The Life-Cycle of The Newbigin, Missional Model: About 20 years?

The Village Church, an 18-year-old missional PCA church in the Village in New York City, closed its doors for good a few months ago on April 7th. This is a plant of Redeemer Presbyterian Church (PCA) in New York. These comments are from Rev. Scott Sherman (one of the founding pastors):

Scot Sherman
May 8, 2013 at 12:44 am
Dear Friends,

Reading these comments is bitter-sweet. I’m so sorry it has come to this.

Despite my inner turmoil and disappointment, I can truthfully say that ABOVE ALL I am grateful to have been a part of TVC. I’m grateful to Tim Keller for challenging me with the IDEA, and for the team of ministry marines who stepped up and served so sacrificially in those first years of planting. It’s been good to see God’s faithfulness as each chapter of the story of the TVC has unfolded. We planted, others watered, God gave the increase.

One of the many beautiful things about life in God’s kingdom is that nothing gets wasted, nothing forgotten. What God has done in and through TVC matters forever. Lesslie Newbigin, reflecting on 2 Tim. 1:12, says : “Every faithful act of service, every honest labor to make the world a better place, which seemed to have been forever lost and forgotten in the rubble of history, will be seen on that day to have contributed to the perfect fellowship of God’s Kingdom.” The rubble of history is not the last word, friends.

When confronted with sad mysteries, I take comfort that, as Fr. Richard Rohr says, “everything belongs ….Faith does not need to push the river precisely because it is able to trust that there is a river. The river is flowing; we are in it. The river is God’s providential love – so do not be afraid…Everything belongs; God uses everything. There are no dead ends. There is no wasted energy. Everything is recycled.”

I’m grateful for all of the TVC that was and is good. And I’m just as grateful for the grace that covers all the sin and nincompoopery that made it less than it could have been! I ask you— despite my many mistakes, and those that followed— did God not do a wonderful thing in Greenwich Village?

Scot Sherman

Could this be a normative life-cycle for a baby-boomber planted missional church in the Newbigin framework?


4 response to “The Life-Cycle of The Newbigin, Missional Model: About 20 years?”

  1. Well, the normal life cycle for a church plant is less than 5 years. This one lasted 18.

    I live and minister in Portland and see many churches shuttering their doors. And its not just the “baby boomber” churches, but also African American churches, mainline churches, white evangelical churches, “missional” congregations, and some too eclectic too label.

    Some of these had been around for generations, and some were not as old as t-shirts I own. It’d be too simplistic and reductionistic (on my part) to blame it on something like a “Newbigin framework” or “babyboombers.” But I don’t have an axe to grind, either.