Monday, February 04, 2013

Missional Imagination in Berlin with @NCC

As part of my role with GRACE on a vision team for our strategy for Europe, some of us visited National Comm Church on Friday night to hear from their team that is launching their Berlin church plant. It is their first intl church plant - John Hasler and his wife Stef are leading the charge on this.

It was a great gathering - John and Stef and authentic, down to earth and have a great demeanor and Ebenezers [NCC's coffee house] basement is always a great venue. Below are some rough notes - I've made some comments that you might be interested in under that.
NCC and Berlin
+ NCC was approached by Reach Global, part of the EFCA, to think about Berlin. A lot of this connection was based on who NCC was as a church
- their core values and DNA - and what Berlin looked like in terms of postChristian Europe, fall of Communism and highly creative
class in the city.
+ This has a business as mission focus - a marketplace ministry similar to Ebenezers.
+ Key pieces of NCC's DNA - 'everything is an experiment' and 'do church in ways that have not beeen done before,' 'church for the unchurched'
+ Paradigm of having John and Stef on staff - not as sent but as part of staff org.
+ Urban cities are all very complex - marketplace ministry in these cities will always be very unique.

+ Berlin is one of the most up and coming cities in Europe right now.
+ Berlin - 3.8M in city core - 5M people including suburbs - 1-2% evangelical , 60-65% atheistic or agnostic
+ Can feel a spiritual heaviness - apathy - some animosity
+ Reconstruction - East and West - grittiness to the city
+ No reverence for anything religious
+ Tourist phase -> picking a neighborhood
+ Mayor touting Berlin as the most tolerant city in the world.
+ German - rational, logical, love philosophical debate without emotions.
+ All Berliners take music in school.

+ Circles of relationships 1 - core team, 2 - friends of friends, 3 - events, house concerts
+ core team includes J&S and 1 American Reach Global intern and 7 Germans
+ looking at an old post office to have a cafe/coffee shop, perhaps an art coop, a place to sell fair trade products from around the NCC global partners - this is in flight, nothing definite yet
+ Opportunity to do something different, tough journey, visceral imagination
+ Challenge for NCC is to allow time for this to grow, to 'let this breathe', this is a tough journey.

My thoughts:
1 - This is missional imagination at its best - the opportunity and challenge to create a church expression that hasn't ever been done before, in combination with a business aspect. It is difficult and complex at its best and just in case you haven't realized, it's what is being required here in the US as well.
2 - If you've read my blog for a while, you know I've followed NCC for a while and have had some friends involved there. Love their DNA as a church, it's not for everyone and churches like this don't exist everywhere. Their DNA and this opportunity fit well. Church DNA should be a top filter when determining these kinds of opportunities.
3 - He is right about this being a tough long journey. I love what he said about letting it breathe and how there is a transition from being a tourist to find the right place to live in the city. Sometimes, we might be too impatient for quick results.

Update: found the handout they gave.
Related: Nairobi A18 coffee house


  1. Luz Alemana8:08 AM

    I would like to know where I can meet NCC here in Berlin. Did they open a coffee house here? (I live here since one and a half year after being on the mission field in Southamerica and Mexico for many years) Would love to be able to contact them /work together!

  2. hi luz - drop me an email and i will try to connect you. tonytsheng @

  3. Tony, have you had any updates on this mission? I have friends in Berlin that I may want to put in contact. Thanks!

  4. hi there aaron -- there is lots on the ncc missions page at feel free to send me an email and i can put you in touch with john hasler as well - tonytsheng @