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New Book Challenges Readers to Reimagine Church
 By the Rev. Brendan McClenahan, Communications Director, Cyclical Inc.
Deconstructing Church Planting: Reconstructing a Post-Colonial and Post-Industrial Pneumatology for the Next Generation of Churches
Written by Nicholas Warnes Cyclical Publishing, 2022
At the turn of the year, pastor Nick Warnes released Deconstructing Church Planting, a guidebook for those wanting to explore new ways to start churches. Warnes is the ex- ecutive director of Cyclical Inc., a non- profit organization based in Los Ange- les that helps Christian leaders star t new initiatives, including churches.
In North America, there is a lay- ered history of planting and growing churches en masse. But according to Warnes, people who start new churches should think twice before reaching for conventional proto- cols—i.e., identify a growing suburb, buy a large building and find a char- ismatic leader. “Starting churches in the West has devolved into a coloniz- ing equation, reinforcing industrial paradigms,” says Warnes, a church starter himself. He is concerned that the way churches were planted in the
late twentieth centuries have led to the difficult situation many churches are in now. The limits imposed by their structure have made it hard for churches to adapt and flex to chang- ing contexts.
As neighbourhoods and communi- ties have grown more diverse, many mainline churches have not, leaving a cultural gap. Though he takes this disconnect very seriously, Warnes is not pessimistic. “I want to cri- tique the broader system of church starting in North America in order to point to a more hopeful future,” says Warnes. He is not the only one bothered by the current status quo. “We’ve long had an inkling that colo- nial and industrial-age church plant- ing philosophies don’t work in our current century,” says the Rev. Katie Nakamura Rengers, the staff officer for church planting in the Episcopal Church. “Nick deconstructs the ad- venture of starting new faith commu- nities in a way that invites us to ask what’s truly at the heart of a commu- nity of people who chooses to follow Jesus together.”
Since starting a church in Atwa- ter Village in 2009, Warnes founded Cyclical Inc., and now serves 1,200 “faithful innovators” around the
world who are starting churches and other ministries. “Faithful innovators are Christian leaders who believe that God’s love for the world is inspir- ing faithful innovation through the church. They are joining in God’s work creating the future of the church today,” says Warnes.
In his book, Warnes deconstructs the way churches are started, which he claims borrows more from Henry Ford and the assembly line than Je- sus. Next, the book lays out a new framework for starting churches based on the biological life cycle. Finally, the book concludes with sev- eral chapters from church starters who share their experience of start- ing a church.
“Warnes calls for a new season of ecclesiastical experimentation that turns away from the mechanistic and modernist approach of church plant- ing in decades past and recovers the necessary missional emphasis on di- vine agency at work in the church and world,” says Dr. Ross Lockhar t, Dean of St. Andrew’s Hall in Vancouver. Lockhar t is the founding director of the Centre for Missional Leadership.
In the end, the book hopes to en- courage new leaders to step up and start new kinds of churches. “This
is a book for anyone who has ex- perienced the call to plant a church but hesitated because they felt like they didn’t fit the mold,” said Jen de Combe, Associate Secretary for Ca- nadian Ministries in The Presbyterian Church in Canada.
As churches begin a new year, many of them might face the pros- pect of closing. Warnes challenges us to rethink this as an opportunity to bravely innovate: “When churches reach the end of their life cycle, who will start the new churches, and what
as if one has to choose to be like Mary—attentive to Jesus, her heart centred on spiritual things—or to be like Martha, “worried and distracted by many things” (Luke 10: 38–42). Being, versus doing. Mindfulness that finds practical expression.
Lisbeth Duncan shares her thoughts from a unique practice of her faith, for she is both a Mary and a Martha!
kinds of churches will they start?” You can download the first chapter of Deconstructing Church Planting for free at deconstructing-church-planting. To learn more about Cyclical Inc., visit
The Presbyterian Church in Can-
ada partners with Cyclical Inc. to offer the Cyclical PCC program to ministers, lay leaders and churches interested in exploring ways to start new ministries. To learn more, visit
The same woman of faith who knits wee bonnets for at-risk infants while meditating on God’s love and compassion for all the same faithful one who has served her local congregation as an engaged elder and has moderated (a good Presbyterian term!) her home synod and convened a major council of our denomination.
No uninvolved bystander here!
The author’s walk, in service with God, is nourished and inspired by her quiet times of contemplation, often with knitting needles in hand.
As Lisbeth says, “At this time in history, there is so much sadness and turmoil. This memoir seeks to provide hope, promise and tranquil- ity, for those who need spiritual guid- ance as a distraction.”
So as Lisbeth knits her tiny dolls for children in stressful situations, or prayer shawls for those needing a warm, knitted “hug,” she encourages us to realize that God’s Spirit is active in all situations and times.
   A Review of
 Spirituality in Knitting
By Joan Cruickshank, retired registered nurse and elder, St. John’s Presbyterian Church in Medicine Hat, Alta.
Spirituality in Knitting: sereKNITy dot calm Written by Lisbeth Duncan July 2021
Reflective, spiritual, creative and calming are four words that I would use to describe Lisbeth Duncan’s new book, Spirituality in Knitting.
Lisbeth, a mother of three, grew up in Scotland, daughter of a dairy farmer, and so resided in a rural community. Her childhood was un- complicated and happy.
At a very young age, Lisbeth learned to knit, as did generations of
family before her. Her mother taught her to pray as she knitted, which Lis- beth continues to this day.
This short book is not to be read all at once, but to be kept handy to pick up in a quiet moment and enjoy a memory or two of hers, to perhaps stimulate memories of your own.
It’s a good time to pray for comfort and peace for those who you know need it.
Knitting, while creating something beautiful and special can in itself help us to “stop and smell the roses” when life becomes hectic—crafts, whatever they may be, can do this. These times of creativity and silence can help us be more attentive to God. What a wonderful use of time it is.
Lisbeth relates many memories of
her past life. As we read through the pages, we can recall experiences of our own, times when we felt God’s presence and God’s peace—some happy memories and some not so happy ones.
This is a gentle book, one that makes us realize that praying and asking for God’s help or involvement can come about at any time during one’s day.
The book reminds us that life doesn’t have to be frenzied. We are allowed to take time for ourselves, and listen for that “small, sweet voice of gentleness.”
Reading these spiritual reflections brings to mind Jesus’ best friends, Mary and Martha. Biblical interpret- ers have stereotyped these sisters,
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