I wonder if you have noticed that a lot of what is said about church planting at the moment all seems the same?
Does this model seem familiar: Hear a stirring talk at a conference. Decide that church planting needs to get back on the agenda. Pray about it. Pray some more. Get a group of people praying. Set a target for a church plant within 5 years. Identify a place. Find a leader. Guarantee their salary for 2 years. Choose 30 people to go with them. Go.
It’s not that this model is bad (if we end up with more churches out of it, then who am I to judge), but it does seem a little bit limiting.
It seems that our church planting could be faster, better and stronger than that (isn’t that a Daft Punk song?).
In the Bible, there is tons of church planting and none of it follows the model above. I think our planting could be turbo-boosted by looking at some of the other ways churches get planted in Acts. Over the next few blog posts I will share a few of them.
It starts in Jerusalem.
Church Plants Outta Nowhere
What happens when you don’t have years to plan a church plant? What happens when you barely have five minutes?
Is a five minute church plant possible?
What do you do when lots of people get saved and there isn’t a church?
You plant one.
What happens when God makes everything go ka-boom, the gospel hits the fan and you need to figure out what to do next?
Are you ready for the steady-eddie fellowship that the apostles had in Acts 1 to be exploded spectacularly by a work of God?
You better be.
There a moments when church planting isn’t an option, a strategy or a vision. It’s a necessity. There are moments when God is doing something and you have no choice but to roll with it and let it play out. They are good moments.
So what do you do, when such a moment hits?
A Few Ideas From Jerusalem
1 – Play the Greatest Hits. What the apostles did with their 3000 converts bears a striking resemblance to what Jesus did with them. They taught truth. They shared belongings. They healed the sick. They served the poor. They prayed. When you don’t have time for an innovative strategy, look at what God has taught you in the past, and do that.
2 – Get People Involved. If Acts 2 happened today, we would be tempted to stick Peter on a stage every night for 3 months to try to reproduce the impact his sermon had. It’s notable how in the description of the church that was formed in Acts 2:42-47, no individuals are named but we see phrases such as ‘every soul’, ‘all who believed’, ‘they’ and ‘as any’. It was a priority to see the new people integrated into the life of the new church.
3 – Use What You Have. Don’t have a big auditorium? Go to the temple together, and meet in homes. No poor fund? Teach people to share their stuff. When a moment comes out of the blue, there probably won’t be everything in place but that’s okay. Creatively use what is before you and God will be faithful with it.
4 – Turn the Moment into a Movement. Nostalgia isn’t what it used to be. In Jerusalem new people were added daily. They were able to carry the momentum from what God did at Pentecost into a thriving, on-going church in the city.
When God goes ka-boom, often there is no choice but to start new churches, and to do so now.
My hope and prayer is that we will all need to plant churches like this.