The Wider Context
A common debate in missiological circles these days is around Attractional vs Missional. This debate revolves around approaches to mission. Attractional relies basically on the church being appealing to unbelievers. People come to our churches because we have credibility, because we are cool and do things very well. They like us so they come. As people get drawn in, so they draw others in and on it goes. A theological basis would be John 13:35 "By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another"
The gathered church is where outsiders get to see our compelling love for one another which will convince them we really are Jesus' disciples.
The Missional proponents argue that the local church gathering is not really the place for mission - but that believers must do mission outside the walls of the church.
A theological basis for this would be the Great Commission of Matthew 28:18-19 ... “ All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.  Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, ..."
From the beginning the church 'went out' to unbelievers to preach the gospel.
A large part of the problem it seems is that the most 'successful' churches do fine using the Attractional model. The fringe of people around their church is significant enough to 'keep keeping them busy' so for their church to grow their method is fine.
A Different Missional Emphasis
However, it is my conviction that church growth should not be our preoccupation or measure for success. Jesus said "I will build My Church ..." That is not to say we do not have a part to play as in Ephesians 4 Paul writes " From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work."
However, it seems Paul's emphasis concerns the church growing in maturity as a body whereas Jesus had the expansion of the church in mind as well as maturity.
Of course I want New Life church to grow, but there is something more important than the growth of the particular church I lead - that is the making of disciples through the advance of the gospel in the lives of both believers and unbelievers.
Between 70 and 80% of the UK will not be reached at all with the gospel using current methods. More of the same will see the UK following hot on the heals of Europe.
It is this knowledge that forms the backdrop for ministry in Moulsecoomb, and for an Internship.
All about the gospel
An intern at New Life will grapple with the challenge of how to live in a missional context where the tried and tested methods of the past are now found wanting.
The overriding conviction for ministry in Moulsecoomb is the knowledge that the gospel is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes - even for people in Moulsecoomb and other such estates across the country.
People have not been evangelized just because we invited them to church. People have not rejected Jesus just because they didn't want to come to our guest service or do Christianity Explored or Alpha. In Moulsecoomb we do not particularly expect people to respond to such invitations, but neither do we wring our hands as though the job is done. We still need to get the all important message of our glorious Saviour to them.
This will involve general admin duties - a large part being printing literature for distribution, literature distribution, helping maintain the web site, helping practically with setting up and breaking down for church, admin support for Kidz Klub and RAW (Youth Outreach). This is not just about doing what no one else wants to do - others do! But rather, humble service is an important aspect of the Christian life in ministry.
This will involve a reading list and enrolling in Theology Training depending on what is most suitable. It will also include attending at least one conference such as 'Reaching the Unreached' or the FIEC HUB. Additionally there will be on site theological training and practical equipping.
This will be flexible depending on the particular gifting and interests of the intern. However, they will be encouraged to focus on four projects over the course of a year. For example, this could be working with Kidz Klub for a quarter, working with RAW for a quarter, Leading a Bible Study Group for a quarter and organising a church and community event. These are just examples. Support and coaching will be given through all projects so as to maximise learning.
In contexts like Moulsecoomb, determination, hard work, creativity and gifting are just not enough. Learning to trust God and to work in dependance on Him is essential to survive estate ministry and not get burned out. Devotion to God and learning to continually find joy and peace in Him is essential and so mentoring in this area will be an essential part of the intern's experience
Ultimately, we want to train up an army of workers who are equipped for gospel work in a context of mission.
New Life Church Brighton is an independant evangelical church situated in Moulsecoomb, North-East Brighton. We know there are many different kinds of people here in Brighton - you might wonder if Church is for you. The Church is for all people and we love diversity! We love Brighton and its people so please check us out - you will be very welcome!