31 May 2023

Micro churches can bring the gospel to many in post-Christendom Australia

Bree Mills

13 March 2023

The church is often touted as being resistant to change, but its 2000-year life suggests a different story. There have been many times throughout history the Anglican Church has needed to adapt to change, and in a post-lockdown world this will be no different. The recent rise of micro churches across Australia has demonstrated the church’s ability to adapt once again. But, while micro church is a new term, it is not a new idea.  

In the 1700s Anglican priest John Wesley was convicted of the need to preach to English miners who were not engaged in local churches. These gatherings drew the poor and marginalised in every town, seeing many choose to follow Jesus. So, Wesley created different structures of classes, small bands, and societies, to facilitate discipleship and evangelism within these people groups. Wesley’s heart was to see this movement of smaller communities renew the Anglican church in his lifetime, and he remained an Anglican until his death.  

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

Similarly, in 1876 Mary Sumner began a gathering to reach mothers from every social class, which would eventually become Mothers’ Union. These meetings grew, and saw many women come to faith, spend time in fellowship and worship together, all while seeking to reach other mothers. The meetings multiplied throughout England and took place in nine countries within seven years. 

Both are historical examples of what we would now call micro churches, and some of many throughout history.  

Micro churches are smaller expressions of church seeking to reach a particular network or neighbourhood with the gospel. They are often lay-led, and very simple in nature, meeting in homes, neighbourhood houses, cafes, and community spaces. They focus on simple worship, authentic community, and intentional mission. Some are ministries of existing Anglican churches; others are networks of micro churches overseen by an ordained Anglican minister. 

Recently Bishop of Islington Ric Thorpe spoke across Australia about the Diocese of London’s training for everyday people and lay leaders to pursue the mission of God and plant churches in their context. The diocese’s aim is to plant thousands of new lay-led churches across the UK, through their Myriad training. Many of these will be micro churches.   

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

Today, in Melbourne we have micro churches reaching into lower socio-economic areas, sporting clubs, country towns and workplaces. Mission isn’t just a task for these communities, it is a part of their identity. Their love for a particular network or neighbourhood binds them together as a community and drives a desire to go out and share the gospel, making disciples in a contextually relevant way among those people.  

Micro churches tend to reach those who have no previous connection, where many other church plants tend to reach those sympathetic to, or with some historical connection to Christian faith. The nature of micro churches encourages them to dwell among the community, rather than asking the community to come to them. As they engage with and among local community, they share the gospel, make disciples in that place, and see the church formed there. This allows for organic expressions to be formed in contextually relevant ways for a particular people group. This grounds the gospel, connects it deeply to community, and makes it accessible for many in our post-Christendom context.    

You can find out more about micro churches at: microchurches.com.au.  

The Reverend Bree Mills is an ordained Anglican minister and the founding director of Micro Churches Australia, an interdenominational movement to support multiplying micro churches across Australia. 

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

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

Share this story to your social media

Share on facebook
Share on twitter

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.