Tobar Family is birthed out of our strong desire to see 'new wells’ dug throughout Ireland. We long to help release a fresh pioneering imperative for planting churches and missional communities in the most broken places of Ireland. More specifically we seek to strategically identify, train and equip, send and ‘go with,’ pioneers God is raising up and releasing into the missional frontier. Tobar Family is therefore a community for those churches that are birthed or ‘adopted’ by Tobar. It is made of a variety of different churches, missional and potentially monastic communities. None of the church-plants will necessarily look the same and each will carry their own unique name and identity. Some may be growing house churches resonating deeply with the values of Tobar and others may be small missional communities, maturing into small churches.
Core Practices of Tobar Family Churches:
Prayer and worship
Hospitality and justice
Discipleship and mission **
Model for Support
Emmanuel church forms a kind of 'Mother House' (Apostolic Resource Hub) acting as a resourcing centre for mission and sending as well as a gathering location for the Tobar Network.
Tobar Family currently consists of
Emmanuel Church Lurgan
Emmanuel Church Portadown
Shalom (North Lurgan)
Grace CommunityChurch (Richhill)
Journey Church (Lisburn)
Kings Church (Bangor)
Redeemer Central (Belfast)
Hope Community Church (Cavan)
Practically being part of Tobar Family includes the following:
Monthly gatherings for leaders of missional communities/church plant leaders allowing for prophetic input and apostolic shaping.
One-on-one discipleship, support, coaching, and mentoring for leaders monthly.
Low control (although intentional shaping in birthing stage) of church plants recognising the creative and indigenous leadership within each church plant.
High accountability: expectation of apostolic input where there is, by invitation, recognised governance and spiritual authority coming from Tobar.
Where existing churches/missional communities desire this level of relationship and commitment a ‘process of adoption’ will take place, where we will journey together towards a more public recognised relationship.
Ongoing relational flow - speaking in each other’s churches.
Organised environments for ‘Tobar Family’ to be together
Leaders’ training / resourcing leaders event
Mission trips opportunities.
Birthing new church plants
Two main orbits:
1. Church-plants within a close geographical radius are characteried by;
Incarnational and organic approach - living authentic lives as followers of Jesus ‘up close and personally’ // encouragement to move into the neighbourhoods // less emphasis on a Sunday-centric meeting in birthing stage.
Indigenous - understanding the ‘micro-climate’ of each town/city and organically joining in with what the Holy Spirit is doing in each location.
Intentional - moving forward with purpose, direction and the desire to multiply
Inter-dependant - resourced more intentionally from Emmanuel re policies // finances // programmes // larger family gatherings and events
2. Church-plants in wider geographical orbit:
These expressions would carry the same DNA as described above but with some distinctions:
Increased autonomy - while there will still be strong relational connection with Emmanuel Church, due to the longer distances there will be extra encouragement and permission towards self-sufficiency.
Increased emphasis on sending an experienced and up-skilled couple or small team to a new area.
Stronger encouragement to more Sunday expressions of church in areas where fewer vibrant Sunday expressions of church exist.
Desire to see these churches ‘come of age’ in their own right and develop as Apostolic Resource Hubs in their particular areas.
'Adopting' churches - joining the family
Some missional communities and churches may desire to become part of the Tobar Network. This can be explored where there is a strong relational connection, shared vision and deep resonance with the DNA of Tobar. This uniting process would include a journey towards partnership over an agreed period of time where intentional conversations between Emmanuel leadership and the particular churches leadership centring on the following:
Expectations of one another.
Speaking at the particular church to build relationship with wider body and allow the ‘whole body’ to feel ownership of the Tobar network.
If during this process it becomes clear that the Holy Spirit is confirming a kindred spirit, this process will end with a public recognition and ‘standing together’ through the laying on of hands.
Expectations of churches / communities within network
Commitment to the shared vision and values
Openness to input
Contribution towards the network in gifts, skills, heart, relationship and if appropriate finances
Systemic integrity - good practice