How Missions Are Planted
New Christian communities – missions – may be explicitly planted by the Diocese or may grow up through local initiative, and are an intentional response to the Great Commission (Matt. 28:16-20). They help to bring Christ’s Gospel as taught and expressed by the Orthodox Christian faith to those in the Midwest.
Where Missions Begin
All mission communities are not the same. Rural Iowa is different than urban Detroit. Some are based on college campuses. Some begin from groups of people seeking the Orthodox Faith. Some result as a need of Orthodox faithful who have moved to new areas. Some are planted in a new area by a priest and his family. Some are a replanting of a once thriving community that withered and is being renewed.
New mission communities happen in one of a number of ways – there is no “one size fits all.” A group of Orthodox, or those considering Orthodoxy, raise their hands and ask for permission to explore a new community in their area. Some communities begin from top down diocesan planning– examining distances between existing parishes and considering population density and growth.
The Ideal Genesis
One of the most effective methods of new parish planting is when a healthy, existing parish replicates itself by spawning a new worshipping community to better serve persons at the outer edges of its current reach and to encourage and structure future growth. In doing so the parish and its members are accomplishing their Orthodox Christian responsibility –growing in life and faith and spiritual understanding –by working to bring the gospel to a broader footprint of the Diocese.
These types of planting endeavors have at their core people who know the local area, maintain close communication and are committed to the planting. They can work at an appropriate pace supported by consulting from the Diocese and financial grants to cover exploration costs.