Under One Umbrella: Multiple Communities, One Church

Timothy Jacob Gillespie

Print's manuscript was missing pages 106-111.


It is my claim that the need for alternative communities within established church structures is not only growing, but is also paramount to the continuation of the gospel of Jesus Christ into the post-Christian, post-Modern world. These alternative communities often take the form of "emerging" worship services, Young Adult services, and "church within- a-church" expressions of worship and community. They are seen in large, medium, and small church settings; as such, we see many of the same problems to varying degrees. The search for relevance has led us to these communities, and this author sees them as valid expressions of faith and community. I am further claiming that intrinsic within these "community relationships" is friction that often leads to challenges that, unless overcome, will not allow either community to see its full potential for the kingdom of heaven. I will explore different models of relationships, both for integration and separation, and suggest ways in which the conversations between communities can be facilitated in order to create "preemptive understanding," which seeks in turn to allow each community a modicum of understanding and helps to create opportunities for all communities to thrive. I propose a book that will outline the challenges and look for opportunities therein. This book will address any church community that struggles with the growth of an alternative community within the more established church structure. The research will be broad enough to include churches of every size and can be seen cross-denominationally as a resource for easing the growing pains of alternative communities within already established church structures. The goal is to provide a framework for conversations between multiple communities housed under one ecclesial umbrella.