A microchurch is the most basic form of church. It is the coalescing of three intentional practices. When a microchurch overlaps WORSHIP, COMMUNITY and MISSION, it is church. We believe this is the ecclesial minimum.
Microchurches enable the church to be situated in places of need. All places of need. They are easy to start, easy to lead and always contextualised. They are autonomous, called and gifted by God to be part of his mission. They agree to the same values - not methodology, technology or even nonessential theology.
Microchurches can be house based churches that care for their neighbourhoods. Looking for ways to support the lonely, the hungry, the unemployed, the sick and so on. They can even care for their physical neighbourhoods by championing sustainability.
Microchurches can be built around a specific mission. Maybe a microchurch leader is called to work with the homeless or children in foster care. You could be passionate about vulnerable youth or people caught in the justice system. Maybe you can't escape the call to help families who are battling cancer or families who are struggling with substance abuse or relational breakdown. Whatever or whoever it is that God has placed on your heart to serve could be the start of a microchurch.
It is time we stopped imagining the church as something we have to invite people into and see it as something that is blessed to be broken and given to the world.
From Microchurches: A Smaller Way by Brian Sanders
The Church as Network
One microchurch on its own cannot be effective at reaching all of a city's needs. This is also true of a centralised macrochurch. A single entity, no matter how large, is unlikely to bring the focus, voice and effort needed to see radical change in major societal issues such as racial injustice, the refugee crisis, the mental health crisis, addiction and abuse. However, a network could serve all these needs and more. A network of hundreds or thousands of empowered microchurches. Microchurch communities who love Jesus and are willing to dedicate their lives to partnering with his vision for a new world.
That's the future we dream of for The Neighbourhood. A centralised hub can provide programs that help strengthen and empower microchurches as they navigate the often difficult paths of working with issues of deep and real need. But centralised programs must always serve the microchurches and not the other way around.