The Manifold Plant

It takes a village to plant a church. Well, a few dioceses, a branch of the Baptist church, and an established church plant to be exact. They all came together last year to plant All Saints Anglican Church in downtown Everett, Washington, under the leadership of the Rev. Kevin Craik.

Eighteen months ago, Craik was serving on staff as a deacon under Bishop Todd Hunter at Holy Trinity Church in Costa Mesa, California, when the Bishop pulled him aside to share some exciting news. Pastor Wes Johnson of BethelBaptist Church in Everett, Washington—a part of Converge (formerly known as the Baptist General Conference)—had offered his building and resources to birth an Anglican church plant. Yeah, it sounded weird, but Bethel was focused on building the Kingdom of God in their community, and they were looking for an Anglican church planter. Would Craik be interested?

“It is common to hear the phrase ‘kingdom of God’ these days,” Bishop Hunter says, “but it is rare to see churches and leaders actually live it out.”

Bethel was actually imitating another Baptist church that had already succeeded at the unusual strategy. In 2013, Pastor Dr. Barry Crane of Northsound Church in Edmonds, Washington, noticed a need for liturgical churches in the area to reach a demographic that he couldn’t. After starting a conversation with Bishop Hunter and Bishop Kevin Allen of the Diocese of Cascadia, Crane planted Holy Trinity Edmonds, led by the Rev. Ryan Brotherton, within his own church. (The church plant began under C4SO but naturally transitioned to the local Diocese of Cascadia.) Crane invited other Baptist pastors to plant biblically faithful liturgical churches in their midst, and Johnson accepted the challenge.

“When Dr. Crane approached me with the challenge to consider planting an Anglican church inside Bethel’s building, it was clear that God was moving,” says Johnson. “Our team was energized…We are looking forward to seeing a vital new congregation emerge.”

When Bishop Todd pitched the opportunity to Craik, pledging C4SO’s support, the California native agreed, though he had no connections of his own in the Northwest. After meeting with Johnson and plotting out the details, Craik and his wife and son moved to Everett last fall.

“It felt like a parachute drop for us,” Craik says. “But when we got here, we had a net of support right away.”

A major source of that support was Holy Trinity Edmonds. The Craiks began worshipping at Holy Trinity, building relationships and seeing firsthand how a church plant looks in a Baptist backyard. Brotherton, who testifies to the efficacy of the Baptist/Anglican model, is committed to partnering with All Saints any way he can.

“A local church offering their building, some money, collegiality, and friendship is about the best support a church planter can get,” Brotherton says. “Combine that with the benefit of the host church getting to celebrate with you and knowing that they are contributing to the growth of the kingdom of God, and I can’t imagine a better, more kingdom-minded way to plant churches.”

Brotherton is part of an executive team surrounding Craik that includes Bishop Hunter, Bishop Allen, Dr. Johnson and Dr. Crane. Each party offers financial, emotional and spiritual help to the fledgling church. Like Holy Trinity Edmonds, All Saints began as part of C4SO but will eventually reside in the Diocese of Cascadia, under Bishop Allen.

Craik is grateful to have a team’s input in the logistics, as well as adjusting to the pre-Christian spiritual climate in the Northwest. He now has a core team of about 10 people, plus five or six others who are interested. He spends his days networking in the community, having core team meetings, talking to people about the church’s vision and values, and meeting for meals and fellowship in people’s homes. The church also meets occasionally in a room at Bethel for a simplified Eucharist service. They hope to launch sometime this year.

“In a church plant like this, there are always people who are ready and willing to help however they can,” Craik says. “I’m not on my own. I can get advice and opinions from several people who all really want this plant to succeed.”

All Saints is indeed a Spirit-led amalgamation of gifts, resources and callings. In return, the diverse partners—especially Johnson—are blessed by the church plant.

“Working with Kevin has proven to be a delight,” Johnson says. “He has a quiet way of listening and interacting that is refreshing. People who follow Christ in Kevin’s care will find a thoughtful pastor who will lead with kindness and good cheer.”

The Tension Regarding Intention

The idea of cooperating with God, of being an ambassador of the kingdom, is often scary or negative. Some fear it will lead to works righteousness or legalism. Others fear that people will become self-appointed, power-abusing religious leaders. I understand the fear. Terrible harm has been done in the name of God. When we try to bring about the kingdom of God by our own force, all manner of evil can be released. Thus, just about everywhere I go these days I sense tension regarding the intention to be the cooperative friends of God. There’s uneasiness about intentional evangelism and leadership. In most of the emerging, alternative church scene, it is not cool to enter a relationship with evangelism in mind or to lead a group toward a preferable future. But there is nowhere else to go. There is no legitimate place to run from our responsibilities as ambassadors of God. The answer to former evangelistic or leadership abuses is not to stay home or clam up. The answer is to go correctly – with a humble and serving attitude. (Christianity Beyond Belief, p. 86-87, Todd Hunter)

What Is Church?

A couple of kindergarten-level drawings may help us finally get an unforgettable image of the church in your minds. Take a moment to imagine yourself sketching a picture of the church on a restaurant napkin. What did you picture? I’ll be it was a square or rectangle with a pointed roof line, topped by a cross. Right? It would be so much better to draw a bunch of stick-figure people doing life and mission together. I’m not down on buildings; I’m up on the people of God. I want to make them the center of our image of the church.

Working against the image of the church as a sent people are three common misconceptions. The vast majority of Americans would define the church in one of three ways: church as a place, an event or a famous pastor. Hope to change these wrong ideas without casting local churches aside as irrelevant relics, I offer a definition of church that puts it in its proper, penultimate place: The church is created and governed by the calling and sending activity of God. The church is secondary to the kingdom of God in that it is the instrument or means through which God regularly expresses himself.

As long as local churches see themselves in this light and conduct their activities for the purpose of equipping and releasing God’s people to follow Jesus and serve others during the 167 hours of a week they are not in church, they are doing fine and need not be criticized. They have a legitimate, God-given role to play. These “team meetings” can be design to help people perform better as followers and servants in the real game being played outside of the church building.

Any church can do this. It is not necessary to have a big building, a big budget or a well-known pastor. All it takes is hearing the new story and deciding to organize around it. That decision is, of course, an act of leadership. In my many years in church work, I’ve never known someone so incompetent that they couldn’t make a decision like that. They may not have the gifts of persuasion to win the argument, but that’s okay. Even biblical leaders – including Jesus –heard the people say, “No way. We’re not following you into that story!” (Christianity Beyond Belief, p. 67-68 – Todd Hunter)

Do This In Remembrance Of Me

Jesus knew that the Father had put him in complete charge of everything that he came from God and was on his way back to God. So he got up from the supper table, set aside his robe, and put on an apron. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the feet of the disciples, drying them with his apron….

After he had finished washing their feet, he took his robe, put it back on, and went back to his place at the table.

Then he said, “Do you understand what I have done to you? You address me as ‘Teacher’ and ‘Master,’ and rightly so. That is what I am. So if I, the Master and Teacher, washed your feet, you must now wash each other’s feet. I’ve laid down a pattern for you. What I’ve done, you do.

… If you understand what I’m telling you, act like it—and live a blessed life. (John 13:3-5, 12-15, 17)

While the Eucharist rightly stands out in brilliant light, there was more going on in the Upper Room than just the special meal. If we are going to engage the spiritual practice of the Eucharist for the sake of others, we need to include the whole scene. For worship that leads to service, we need the chalice and broken bread and the towel of Jesus. The body and the blood of Jesus represent more than his death on the cross. They signify everything that made his death effectual and worthy as a sacrifice: his matchless life of love, service and obedience to his father.

Together the towel and meal show us how to participate in the spiritual practice of Eucharist so that we take on the desire, power and means to live a Christlike life. (Giving Church Another Chance, p. 142-143 – Todd Hunter)