The Church of England’s House of Bishops has released a paper on church planting and mission, presenting it as one way for the church to extend its apostolic mission. The paper offers 10 principles, practical advice, and theological grounding for church planting.

The paper points out that earlier eras experienced extensive, planned, and deliberate church expansion. “There have been previous periods in Church history of intensive planting of churches: notably for the Church of England in mediaeval times, Queen Anne’s 50 New Churches, the Victorian era, and the interwar period,” it says. In fact, every parish church was once a church plant.

“In every generation, and with every tradition, the Church of England has planted new churches to reach new people in new places in new ways,” said the Rt. Rev. Rick Thorpe, Bishop of Islington and the church’s lead bishop for church planting. “Most recently, a number of dioceses have now committed to planting over 2,400 churches of all shapes and sizes by 2030. There is a real desire to see this work grow and gather momentum.”

“In Birmingham we are conscious of how important a great wave of earlier church planting was in the mission of our diocese,” said the Rt. Rev. Anne Hollinghurst, Bishop of Aston. “In the last century, many new Christian communities were established throughout our city and region in response to a rapidly growing, changing urban population and new industrial developments.”

The paper stresses that planting churches is an activity for all traditions and expressions of the Church of England and that plants should be sensitive to the ecology of their neighborhoods and surrounding Christian churches.

John Martin

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