Thursday, March 24, 2011

Make disciples, the churches will plant themselves

My friend Kevin Abbott has a couple of blog posts for our local community to serve as a place for those of us in northeast Indiana to have an ongoing conversation about house church or simple church, whatever you want to call it. There is a post he just put out, How To Start A House Church, that started off with a fascinating and completely counter-cultural way to look at “church planting”

First I want to say that church planting is way overemphasized in our culture. We should be aggressive in making disciples and passive in church planting. Jesus commanded us to “go and make disciples” (Matt 28:19), but said that He would build His church (Matt 16:18) by being the one who “added to their number” (Acts 2:47, 5:14). So our focus in house church planting should be developing relationships as a foundation and allowing God to draw people together. It took a couple years for this to soak in to my head. Don’t just breeze over this ... ponder it.

I think this is a fascinating way to look at the concept of church planting. We often see church planting like this: we identify an area that needs a church (or at least needs “the right kind of church”), we identify someone as a church planter (normally a ministry professional who is “qualified” to plant a church), establish and market the new church plant and finally start to “do church” the way every other church does it. The concept Kevin is advocating focuses on disciple making with the understanding that disciples of Christ will naturally gather together, that more mature leaders will step up and disciple newer believers and that as believers are equipped and discipled, they will in turn make new disciples and replicate the whole process.

What do you think about this? Is the whole notion of “church planters” planting churches getting the order/priority backwards? Is this the right approach or do you see some potential pitfalls here? What is the role of church planters or apostolic workers in the task of making disciples and seeing self-replicating churches formed?

Very exciting questions to be asked and the answers ought to drive us to action.

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