17 June 2024

So … what is a ‘resourcing church’? And could your church be one? 

Resource churches are the contemporary model for mission of the minster church. Picture: iStock.

By John Sanderson 

24 March 2023

As a child I visited Speakers’ Corner in London’s Hyde Park, located close to the spot where tens of thousands went to their death on the infamous Tyburn Gallows. Crowds gather on Sunday mornings to hear people from around the world exercise their right to free speech. Historic figures such as Karl Marx, Vladimir Lenin and George Orwell were known to often use the area to demonstrate free speech, according to the Royal Parks Website.  

One of speakers who caught my childish attention, and to whom I returned to listen on Sundays as a young adult, was Lord Soper. 

Donald Soper was a Methodist minister, pacifist and socialist who took to open air preaching in the form of the early leaders of Methodism. Soper drew huge crowds, speaking passionately on a range of subjects, famously stating that “the policies of Margaret Thatcher were inherently incompatible with Christianity.” I admired Soper’s knowledge, passion and the depth of his knowledge as he brought Christianity and the mission of the church to the masses. 

Obviously, Soper was not the first Christian to step out in faith and with confidence to proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ. In Anglo-Saxon Europe monks stepped out in faith and confidence from their monastery and set out to evangelise, baptise and disciple a designated area with the intention of growing the church, “the minster model”. Those who have travelled around Great Britain and Ireland, and Europe may have come across free-standing decorative stone crosses where it is thought that “preaching”, or sharing of the stories of Jesus Christ by these early evangelists, may have taken place. 

Resource churches are the contemporary model for mission of the minster church. The working and evolving definition of a resource (minster) church – drawn from Alan Bing’s Reimagining Resourcing Churches   is “a church which is designated a resource church by the diocesan bishop as part of a diocesan strategy to evangelise a city or town and transform society.” Bing writes, “it is also intentionally resourced to plant and revitalise churches, develops a pipeline of leaders for further planting, and provides other resources for mission across a city or town.” 

Read more: Communities on a mission to reach neighbours with the Gospel

A minster or resource church may be found in an urban area, a large regional hub-suburb, or in a country setting. These churches have at their heart a desire to give out of their abundance in resources to churches around them, so that they might be to their communities what God is calling them to be. It is important to note that minster churches are part of an intentional diocesan strategy to evangelise and transform society just as our forebears did. These churches have a clear vision and purpose, adaptive leadership, and governance to accommodate growth and change while releasing leaders who can lead new congregations and ministry initiatives. 

Resourcing churches will embrace fresh expressions of church, as well as models for revitalising and renewing churches, including planting new congregations in new and expanding areas, just as the Anglo-Saxon church did. Could you be a resourcing church? At your heart of your church is there a confidence in the gospel that enables you to give out of your abundance so that Christ may be made fully known? 

John Sanderson is a Canon of church planting and of renewal and revitalisation in the Diocese of Melbourne, and vicar of George’s East Ivanhoe and St Paul’s East Kew. 

This is the second of a four-part series on different models of church planting. 

For more faith news, follow The Melbourne Anglican on FacebookTwitter, or subscribe to our weekly emails.

Share this story to your social media

Find us on Social Media

Recent News

do you have A story?

Leave a Reply

Subscribe now to receive our newsletter and stay up to date with The Melbourne Anglican

All rights reserved TMA 2021

Stay up to date with
The Melbourne Anglican through our weekly newsletters.