Ben Cole over at Baptist Blogger has been slowly posting his multiple part history of Church Planting Movements and the Crisis of Power in the Southern Baptist Convention. As an IMB missionary, this series has been interesting reading but confusing as to why there is so much uproar about CPM methodology...
Any church planting methodology is just that: a methodology--an imperfect means to get the job done. From the very beginning it has always been said that CPM is a messy affair. Anyone out on the frontiers of missions actually involved in multiple church plants would readily agree. There are a few undebatable essentials that must be in place, but a lot of it is "unchartered waters" where we seek the direction and guidance of the Holy Spirit to lead us in the next step. Church planting is less a science than it is an adventure!
It frustrates me a little to hear CPM picked apart by people who have not experienced first-hand what it actually means to be assigned a people group the size of the State of Alabama. What would these same people do if it was just them and maybe a handfull of others assigned the job of standing in the gap for reaching millions of people in their assigned region?
It seems that most people criticizing CPM are those that only have to worry about growing their own local church year to year. The Great Commission (the missionary task) is about reaching the nations, an entire people for Christ. It takes a lot of "coloring outside the box" and a mega-dose of faith, prayer and following the H.S. for this to happen.
I have yet to see a critic of CPM actually involved in anthing close to a CPM! CPM was never intended as a panacea for church planting, and no one claims it is the perfect methodology. If there is something better and more effective going on out there, speak up, show us, let us know... We are game for anything that will bring more people into the Kingdom in a faster and more efficient manner.
CPM gives us tools to deal with a God-sized task. I for one am grateful to visionary servants such as Sergeant, Garrison, Rankin, Simson and others who have taken a lot of heat and yet made more of an impact on the people's of the world coming to the feet of Jesus than all their critics combined.
For those interested in more of my ramblings about CPM, check out the following past posts on the subject, A Church Planting Movement Amongst All Peoples, CPM: Babies Teaching Babies?, Revisiting CPM Methodology, and Church as a movement rather than an Institution.
What are your thoughts or experiences with CPM? Any questions? All comments welcome!