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stonepavement church planting
Location: Bourton-on-the-Water
behind the scenes

2002 Coming soon!

Saturday, July 16, 2005

every church should plant (part 2)

Note on photo: The road west to the Red Sea from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia - 800 miles to go. Many underground fellowships risk their lives in this country and region every day for the sake of the gospel..we were there in the 90's where we saw our brothers and sisters risk their lives regularly in reaching their muslim neighbours for Christ....

Individual leadership doesn't come easily to many. We’re not all called to it and for those who might be - we have a tendency in our consumer-conditioned society to remain firmly in our comfort zone where moths and cobwebs thrive and our spiritual man/woman remain starved of nourishment. Only when we break out of this comfort zone and a dependence on being spoon-fed (Sermon tasting rather than biblical teaching) will we begin to understand the revelation that personal evangelism and outreach brings.

Church planting isn't simply about new groups. God is not limited to one model of growth or revival. In our 21st century culture and particularly in a UK setting we have many Churches under 100 people. They experience all the constraints of a church plant; they have the same potential to nurture growing Christians and to have a vision for growth and new planting. These churches can experience the vision and form of a church plant. E.g.: An old church with an aging fellowship disconnected from an emerging culture (word "emerging" used carefully here).

Some steps come to mind in church growth when we consider fellowship in the context of growth size:

Up to 100 in fellowship: A church planting, small group where evangelism steps 1(Reach the lost) & 2 (Nurture the young) are values predominantly. This is where the evangelism of the "core team" (founding families or leadership group) is key in the growth of the plant. Where life changes are forged in the lives of those serving.

100-150 in fellowship: A plant looses the experience of being new as the number increases. Home church and discipleship picks up and encouragement is evident. The available gifting in the fellowship compliments all aspects of the fellowship with worship, pastoral and youth and beyond.

150-200 in fellowship: Steps 3 (Disciple the growing) & 4 (Launch the Mature) come more into their own with the vision of planting back on the horizon. Strengthening a fellowship with leadership by training and mentoring will birth new leaders with a call to plant/outreach and eventually plant. These team members can either prepare to be sent out or prepare to take over existing leadership roles. NB: Maybe within the founding pastoral team there are church planters/evangelists whose gifts are simply that and they move on to plant again...sounds likes like Acts.

200-250 in fellowship: enter again that strategy to launch a new plant.

Church Planting requires apostolic leaders, not leadership by consensus or by conformance to needs. Erwin McManus in his book "The Barbarian Way" has challenged us so perfectly to the opportunity we have and battle we have in our days here right now, today, you and me...hello

I have to reiterate God is not limited to one model of growth, but, there is that word "but". Where does He work most, what does history show? We grow, are invigorated as believers and see new life when we are stripped of our props, taken out of our comfort zone friendships and stand in a place of need (be it direction, discernment or provision)...a place of nothing where we cry out to God and he responds... "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." He will fill empty vessels and use surrendered lives. Paul tells us he's learnt it and goes onto say "Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me." 2 Cor 12:9


Blogger David Ketter said...

Wow, Andrew...this is an excellent model for the strengthening of the Church. I'll be holding onto this one...

8:44 pm  
Blogger behindthepulpit said...

Good words here. I will continue to read your take on church plants. Very encouraging.

6:25 am  
Blogger Apostle John said...

Great posts!

11:29 pm  
Anonymous colin said...

Thats really helpful andrew, the crazy thing is I was sharing my heart with Nai about three days ago and you have just articulated my heart and all I shared with her in a really helpful way, I am pritty freaked at what you wrote. I am now thinking God really might be speaking about a few things.
Its not just my imagination.
The whole servant leadeship is really powerful and God has woken me up for the last week saying I need to rasie people up to be better than me. How cool is that.
Thanks Very propeticand timely word.

3:46 pm  

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