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Called to Pioneer
- When Colin was being appointed an elder in his first church plant, he was given lots of prophetic words about pioneering. Terry Virgo was appointing him and felt called to preach on Joshua.
- Colin has since planted and catalysed the planting of many more churches.
- He used to go to Acts 2 with these church plants, but he has realised that this is taking them to something part way through the story rather than where it started.
- For the apostles, the pioneering journey started 3 years earlier in Mark 1.
- Colin’s key verse is Mark 1:38, which says, “Let us go somewhere else, to nearby villages so I can preach there also. That is why I have come.”
- The context for this starts with Jesus being baptised and commissioned and then coming back into Galilee preaching the good news.
- This is the way every church plant starts – with one person preaching the good news.
- Jesus then finds some people, makes the big call to them and gathers them as his core team.
- They follow Jesus as he teaches in the synagogue, casts out demons, etc. They are a band of brothers who are seeing things happen, with Jesus leading them.
- In Mark 1:21, Jesus goes to the house of Simon Peter’s mother in law. She gets healed and then starts to wait on them.
- News about Jesus gets out everywhere. A crowd gathers and Jesus heals many.
- The next morning Jesus gets up early and goes to a solitary place to pray.
- Peter woke up to a crowd looking for Jesus. A small group go to find Jesus and ask him to return to the house.
- Jesus said no. He wasn’t going to Capernaum, he was going to the nearby villages. That is why he has come.
Two Ministry Philosophies Collide
- Peter wanted Jesus to stay, but Jesus knew he had to go. Both had good reasons for their position.
- Peter could point to the crowds that had formed in Capernaum. There were more people who needed healing, and because word was spreading, there were people who were willing to travel to see Jesus, meaning that his reach could spread even further.
- Jesus knew that God had spoken to him. He has been sent to the lost sheep of Israel (this was the mandate of his 3-year ministry).
- He also wanted to teach his apostles an important lesson.
- At this point, they were on home territory. Peter didn’t want to leave, but Jesus needed to teach him that he was a church planterwho would go out and change the world.
- When the apostles planted in Jerusalem, they ended up getting stuck (albeit with tens of thousands) until persecutioncame, and then the apostles got hold of the mandate that they were here for the world.
- Staying where you are because something is happening is too small a thing. We are to go to the whole world.
“Paul planted a church in Philippi because he stayed there just several days. He planted a church in Thessalonica because he reasoned with them for three Sabbath days. Paul concluded after nine years of planting in the Eastern Mediteranean that there was nowhere left for them to go in that region. There is something definitely temporary about Paul’s missionary stay in one place. There is something of deadly permanence in ours.” (Vincent Donovan – quoted by Phil Moore)
- If Jesus had stayed in Capernaum, he would have only been having partial success.
- Jesus went from village to village, and in some villages he saw everyone healed.
- It is easy for us to settle for partial success when things are going moderately well.
- Unless Jesus went to every village, it was only partial success, because the mandate on his life was for all of Israel.
- In Matthew 9:36, we are told that Jesus saw the crowd and had compassion. This cannot have been just the village he had been in, as he had healed everyone there. He was moved as he visualised all of Israel.
- He only had 2 years of his ministry left and realised this wasn’t enough time to get to every village. This is when he said that the harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.
- So Jesus sent his disciples and increased his ministry six-fold.
- These were people who Jesus named and sent out.
- If we are going to see a church planting movement, something will need to move in us to get people out of their comfort zone and in twos to send out.
- Jesus then called seventy (or seventy-two) others, multiplying his ministry 35-fold and he sent them out in twos.
- These people are described as ‘others’ (they are not even named).
- To get a church planting movement, we need both the named leaders and also the crowd of others (for example, we are told of men of Cyrene who started the church in Antioch).
- When the others are on the move, then we know that something extraordinary is happening.
- Jesus could have settled for what he had going on in Capernaum.
- But his mandate was to get to as many people as he could before that day when he would be crucified.
- The instructions that he gave to the 72 are similar to those that he gave to the 12, but with subtle differences – he was telling them to go there before him and pave the way, knowing that he would come in quickly after them.
- He is training the apostles that when these others go out, you need to follow in quickly behind them.
- If we can mobilise lots of people, we make Jesus happy because he loves and wants to reach the whole world.
- When you go down this route, you end up developing lots of leaders. Students raised up at CCM by Colin are now leading congregations in London, Japan and Manchester.
- Where are all the leaders? They are the 12 and the 70. Jesus was giving people space to grow but not space to die.
- Let’s do what Jesus did. he is the great pioneer.
- Colin recently heard a prophecy that the Catalyst Network would become 400 churches in the UK. For this to happen, 320 new churches need to be planted, and this needs to be done the Jesus way. We need to mobilise both the named people (senior leaders) and the others.
- This is how movements get started. Colin’s heart is to see movements in the UK and Europe that are similar to those happening in Africa, Asia and Latin America.
If someone (or two) are feeling called to go out, what would be your first bit of advice for them?
- Talk to someone who is a church planter.
- Talk to your leadership team. You need to be sent and helped.
- Get into an environment of church planting training.
- Get alongside people who care for you and have faith for you.
- Check whether you are the right person to do it.
How can we give both opportunity and support to young leaders?
- Get people alongside you.
- Give them responsibilities – but be there with them.
- Give them the tools, then let them do it.
- Then pray with them and give them feedback.
- The apostles went ‘house to house’, teaching in Jerusalem. They were supporting the house churches that had been gathered (probably many of them were gathered by the 70).
- It doesn’t help to just do it all yourself, even if they are there with you.
“Too little tension doesn’t stretch people. Too much tension breaks them.” (Colin Baron)
How do we show the ‘unnamed’ others that they are appreciated and valued in the work?
- Look at the appreciation that Jesus showed to the 72 as they returned.
- They are unnamed in that they are not front and centre in the narrative, but they are named to someone.
- Jesus knew their names.
- We give them massive respect.
- Say thank you to everyone.
- Teach the church to appreciate people.
How do we get people around us to get the mentality that they are church planters?
- Get them on Broadcast!
- There are people who have a heart to go who are being told that they should stay in their equivalent of Capernaum.
- Get around church planting people and you will catch things – there is a faith dynamic to it.
- The seventy all came back and chatted about their experience. There was camaraderie amongst them, and this would have inspired others to want to be involved too.
How have you coped with all the moving as God has called you to the next place?
- Colin has actually lived in Manchester for 20 years (excluding the 2 years that he spent in America).
- But there is still something temporary about it – Manchester is around 3 million people, and he is onto his 12th church plant.
- It is not always about moving house, it is about thinking in terms of a region.
- When Paul was in Ephesus, churches were planted right through Asia. He knew that it wasn’t enough to have one big church in Ephesus.
- Watch what your seasons are. When your kids are starting high school or university, or when they are very young are good seasons to move. So are early retirements.
How do you decide where is the next place to plant?
- Occasionally there is prophetic
- A lot of the time, it is just about going to the next place.
- Look at where you already have some people.
Can you tell us about your journey of prayer in church planting?
- I prefer praying corporately.
- I pray personally whilst walking my dog.
- I often start churches with prayer meetings.
- Find out who you are and how you are wired for prayer.
- Know that there are big breakthrough moments in prayer.
What has been your experience of the miraculous in church planting?
- Has seen some healings and demons fleeing, but not much.
- Would like to see more.
- Salvation is a miracle, and so is life change.
- It comes in seasons.