Green shoots are sprouting everywhere

flower.jpg“I do not trust SPECTACULAR things.

Give me the seed growing secretly every time.”

Roland Allen


“Did you know that couch grass and potatoes, and other rhizome based organisms, do not reproduce? Instead they find dark empty places and export their roots into them, maintaining unity, but allowing growth and new life. If there is no reproduction or multiplication in rhizome structures, then how do we talk about reproduction in church planting strategy?

Andrew Jones, Like a Rhizome Cowboy, 2004


“With 80-100 million followers in secret house churches in China; 100,000 house churches planted in India; one million evangelical Latin Catholics now worshipping in Basic Ecclesial Communities (BEC) and five million Americans in 30,000 house churches and several other countries reporting explosive growth, the return of the prodigal church back to the house church is a full circle reversal to God’s intended original form and function.

It seems that the 2000 years of incubation period is over and suddenly the green shoots are sprouting everywhere in the spiritual landscape to welcome Christ the King.”

Victor Choudrie HT: Simple Church Journal, from “Global Trends, Concerns and Challenges”, available here. Previously on TSK: Choudrie and a slice of Nicolatia


Andrew Jones launched his first internet space in 1997 and has been teaching on related issues for the past 20 years. He travels all the time but lives between Wellington, San Francisco and a hobbit home in Prague.


  • One million evangelical Latin Catholics in BECs how many million in BPCs (I made it up it stands for Big Pentecostal Churches though lots of them aren’t very big!).
    I’m sure you’ve heard the saying the Catholics (in Latin America) opted for the poor (using BECs) and the poor opted for Pentecostalism. Now I’m quite a fan of small quiet Godly things but quite often God seems to use big loud Godly things and sometimes it is even what people seem to prefer.
    It might be hard for people who just like hanging out but a lot of good things seem to be going on through structured hierarchical organisations spending lots of money (though I have a feeling that there are other Christians wasting a lot of money on structured hierarchical organisations).
    Should we a)KISS (keep it simple and stupid) b) Keep it expensive and organised c)Try to mix the two up d)Something else

  • tsk says:

    Hi Oli. A lot of us argue for a mixed economy, since we dont have the money for unsustainability, but we also need the public image. Both Jerusalem and Antioch style churches. Wolfgang Simson suggests 80% organic and 20% inherited/traditional would be a good mix.
    i have some thoughts here on Share the Guide
    ‘Might fresh expressions become an Antioch on behalf of Jerusalem?’ What I like about Ray’s analogy is that both churches – Jerusalem and Antioch – have significant differences which are celebrated and viewed as strategic for the advance of the gospel, and at the same time there is a healthy interdependence that values the relationship between each other. Jerusalem needs Antioch to pioneer new fields and Antioch needs Jerusalem to stabilise and add depth to their pioneering of fresh expressions. It’s not a case of ‘either/or’ but ‘both/and’. As it was, so it shall be.

  • Andrew a very balanced reply to my post (you should be an Anglican! ) but I didn’t see quite such a balance in your original post (though maybe you were making a point that underground is ok/good?).
    Rowan Williams proposed the Mixed Economy view (as far as I can remember) but I don’t hear that very often from practitioners who are either into organic or institutional (I tend to get a brow beating from both sides). Often it comes across as “you young guys just want to do new fangled things” and “you old guys just want to keep control”. How can we meld the two so that both learn and serve together this doesn’t seem to happen much yet…
    BTW good to see you back on blogging form
    and I can’t get your link to the Share website to work…

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