If you build it, they won't come
Unless the LORD builds the house, They labor in vain who build it;
Unless the Lord guards the city,
Church planting is much more than starting a gathering or a venue. It is about birthing a body - something that can only be accomplished by God. He has entrusted the Gospel to His human agents who carry it around like a priceless treasure inside of clay pots. But, Jesus is the one who births and builds His Church.
Paul used both organic and inorganic analogies to describe church planting. He wrote to the Corinthians, "...you are God's field, God's building". As planters and builders we work together in partnership with Christ. The only foundation that we can build on is Jesus himself. The only seed that will bear fruit is the gospel of Jesus Christ.
A common misconception about church planting is that you start with a weekly gathering, promote the event and encourage those who attend to invite their friends. This is a technocratic approach that views the church as a machine and assumes, that if properly assembled, it has to work. This technique also assumes so much about our culture that is not true:
- Your neighbors are looking for something else to do and if you invite them to an event - they will show up.
- Your friends will be so impressed with your pastor's preaching that they will be more likely to accept Christ at his invitation than yours.
- People are more likely to accept a proposition from a perfect stranger than to follow the example of a friend.
- We learn more by hearing than doing.
If we view the church as a body with Christ as the head and the members working together, our focus shifts from organizing a weekly event to living and breathing all week long. We become more relevant to our culture in a way that Jesus intended for us to live. Then the four misconceptions listed above would be rephrased to look something like this:
- My neighbor may want to know Christ after he sees Jesus in me.
- My friends will be more likely to believe if I bring them to Jesus before bringing them to church.
- Real Truth can only be discovered in a relationship.
- Being a disciple of Jesus means becoming like Him and doing what He did.
Church planting is the result of relationship building, people serving, gospel sowing, disciple making, leader developing, and church multiplying. Church planting is the result of good mission work.
Posted on Mon, August 29, 2011
by Mark Weible filed under