Mark Heath writes,

“This book tells the story of how St Andrews Church in Chorleywood transitioned from meeting weekly as a whole church in their building, to becoming a collection of “mid-sized communities” (MSCs, later rebranded “mission-shaped communities”), meeting at various locations in the community, and only gathering as a whole church once a month.

“The reason that they got started on this venture was that their church building was due to be refurbished, so they would need to move out for a period of time. What started as an idea for the interim, became so successful that they continued the model once back in the church.

“The authors take it in turns to write a chapter, and the story itself is a very interesting one, particularly due to their reliance on prophetic words as they decided what to do. Their vision could be described as changing the church from being a cruise ship into a fleet of lifeboats. The church needed to change from an attractional (come to us) model to a missional one (“go to them”).

“Each MSC has a name, a clear mission purpose and is no larger than fifty adult members. Led by teams from the church family, MSCs are bringing the Father’s love to the lost and the poor in diverse and creative ways. We have MSCs that are serving neighbourhoods, children, the elderly, the deaf community, prisoners, young people, adults with special learning needs and the homeless.”

Related: Mike Breen, “Clusters”

“I would argue that one of the disabling effects of Christendom upon the Church is that we have equated church and particularly the congregational expression with a formal Sunday Service that is actually modelled on Mini-cathedral or the biblical temple. I describe this distortion of the mid-size gathering of God’s people as the defective gene disabling us for missions. So, we outline what we believe are biblical social dynamics of a mid-sized congregation or cluster which follows the pattern Paul gives us in Corinthians chapter 11-14 in beings informal, interacting, usually built around food and which is the sum of what everyone brings rather than a front- led presentation. Clusters can enable us to escape this “Sunday service trap.”