This article originally appeared on Exponential US Site. https://exponential.org/micro-churches-australia-not-one-story/
Micro Movements is not one story. It’s not one movement. It’s a movement of movements.
As a young woman in church leadership in 2012, God convicted me of the need to reach our local community in Melbourne. So, with the blessing of our sending church, a group of us left our church’s walls to step into our community. Completely unprepared but committed to following the lead of the Spirit. We set out to make disciples, realizing along the way that we had never really been discipled ourselves. But, committed to being learners, we learned on the road with the help of the 3DM team in Sheffield. By God’s grace, we saw people join us, disciples made, and communities multiplied.
A few years later, another guy had a similar vision across the country and planted a hub to support different missional initiatives. With the help of the Underground Church in Tampa, they started a network of micro churches for the Kingdom of God in their city in the form of reconciliation, justice, wholeness, and beauty. Now they work with all sorts of people in their community, from those leaving the prison system to local families.
Most of us believed we were the only ones reimagining church in this way.
Another network, inspired by the simple church movement, began a house church in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne. Focusing on reaching their friends and neighbors, they saw people become disciples and, within a few years, had multiplied to five house churches. They were passionate about stripping the church back to focus on Jesus, releasing every believer to use their gifts, and actively reaching their local community.
God brought our stories together in the middle of the Melbourne covid-induced lockdown of October 2020. What began as an invitation to a friend to read a book on micro churches together ended with an online group of over 30 Australians connecting to talk about different expressions of church. Until then, most of us believed we were the only ones reimagining church in this way. We felt isolated, alone, and under-resourced. Some of us knew of one or two others, but many knew no one.
God used a simple online book group to reveal what he had been doing. He had been scattering the seeds of micro churches all over Australia for some time. We were simply catching up with what he had already been doing. Some movements were new, but many had existed for some time, up to 20 years in some places.
Micro Church Australia wasn’t birthed to start a movement of Micro Churches in Australia. It started because we acknowledged God had already created a movement of micro churches and wanted to participate and collaborate with him. Micro Churches Australia is a movement of movements seeking to share our learning, collaborate and encourage other micro church movements to flourish in the Australian church. Some of us have roots in 3DM, others in church, and others in Underground or Soma. Yet along the way, most of us have realized that God is doing something new in Australia.
Despite our differences, we have found a beautiful unity in walking together.
Australia is a unique place with its beauty and challenges. Each of us needs to contextualize mission and discipleship for the Australian context. Australians love innovation and taking risks but don’t sit well under leadership, especially not command-and-control leadership. Micro Church Australia seeks to cultivate learning specific to the Australian context that will aid Australian leaders to multiply movements of discipleship and mission.
Despite our differences, we have found a beautiful unity in walking together. We all value similar ideas, a simple ecclesiology in a contextualized expression driven by a missional identity and a desire to multiply the small instead of growing large. We are all Jesus-centred communities that seek to model the Father’s love and compassion, empowered by his Spirit.
Two years since that original book group, Micro Movements has now connected with over 450 micro churches in Australia and New Zealand. We have helped to launch some of these movements in the last two years; however, many predate us. The one thing that has changed is we know we are not alone. We have found a tribe to walk with, learn from, and collaborate with.
Mark Sayers describes what John Wesley did in his movement of smaller communities in this way: “Wesley’s greatest achievement was not that he sang his own song, but that he rediscovered God’s song, and sang it afresh over a newly emerging landscape.”  Micro Movements seeks to sing God’s song afresh over the Australian landscape.
More recently, another group gathered in our lounge room to read a book, the core team of a new micro church network in Melbourne. The young woman leading it has grown into leadership through a micro church network and has launched a new network. I get to watch as she walks my teenage daughter through the process of launching her own micro church.
It’s a privilege and a joy to watch what God is doing in Australia. The seeds he has been scattering for years are growing into beautiful communities that bring generational change. It fills me with hope for the future of the Australian church. Micro Movements has the privilege of partnering with God, sharing in their stories, and empowering micro churches movements to flourish in the Australian context.
 Mark Sayers, Reappearing Church: The Hope for Renewal in the Rise of Our Post-Christian Culture (Chicago: Moody Publishers, 2019), 193.