This is such an important question. Many of us involved in emerging and fresh expressions of church have been on a journey for the last twenty odd years. More recently we have been focusing on the question – how do you do mission and evangelism with those who are spiritual questers rather than religious followers. For some of us, this journey has taken us to the Contemplative Christian tradition and new forms of church such is new monasticism. The Moot Community is a good example of this form of community, now extremely committed to mission and evangelism through dialogue and the practice of meditation for stressed out workers in London’s financial district.
So through an openness to follow God, we have been led to the riches of a rhythm of life, spiritual practices and postures to help us engage with this agenda. For some of us, this has evolved out of a greater Trinitarian understanding of the Christian faith leading to participative and sacramental understandings of the ecclesial community. My first book, ‘Emerging & Fresh Expressions of Church‘, was a first participant study looking at the significance of emerging and fresh expressions of church. My second book, The Becoming of G-d which I hope is going to be published by Canterbury Press in a revised second edition, explores the Trinitarian basis discovered through being an emerging and fresh expression of Church, and the book I am currently writing, New Monastic Friars, seeks to explore new monasticism more fully.
However, most emerging and fresh expressions of church have not yet adequately explored how we do formation with spiritual questers. However, we are beginning to build up an understanding to start experimenting with Christian formation. Our mission and evangelism has relied on a transcendent model of contextual theology (using Bevans terminology) of invitation and transformation, sustained in a community seeking to become a deeply resourcing expression of church as a combination of a ‘mystical communion’ and ‘sacramental’ models of Church (using A Dulles’ understanding). So how do we hold onto this more questing and praxis approach to spiritual growth?
Well I think we are learning from two sources what this may look like – the combination of a 12-step course as a form of praxis and experience of transformation holding onto the Enneagram to help us understand ourselves better particularly around formation. The Core Team in Moot is currently reading through the book ’12 Steps to Spiritual Wholeness by Philip St.Romain’ to open up the Christian faith. Next we are reading through a book Aaron Kennedy is suggesting (from our community) on formation and the enneagram. So we hope then, that this approach may help us draw together a proto-type to explore this as a more cultural resonant way to engage with formation in a more experiential relational way.
This is an important next step, and we will see where it leads us.