Thursday, September 21

Church planting movements—it’s all in the mindset

Steve Addison quotes from an article entitled REFLECTIONS ON CHURCH PLANTING MOVEMENTS by Allen Thompson.

For healthy churches to be reproductive (become natural church planting churches), the book-of-Acts- Christian-ministry mindset must be developed. Keller says this requires the adoption of several principles:

First, the ability to give away and lose control of money, members and leaders. This presents a huge barrier for churches. Often, church leaders cannot bear the thought of losing money-giving families or key leaders or favorite friends. When a pastor helps organize new churches from his own church body, he loses money, members, numbers, leaders, and control. In addition, when a pastor lets go, he loses direct control while also assuming responsibility for problems in the project, a possibly unpleasant combination...

Second, the ability to give up some control of the shape of the ministry itself. This is a scary premise, especially to ardent truth-lovers. But the simple fact is that the new church will not look just like your church; it will develop its own voice and emphases. On the one hand, pains must be taken to ensure that differences are not too great (or fellowship and cooperation will become strained). But on the other hand, church planting cannot take place in the context of cloning. If a church insists upon reproducing an exact duplicate of itself, or if it is not willing to admit the necessity and reality of gospel contextualization (in that different generations and cultures will produce a different kind of church), then that church cannot engage in church planting.

Third, the ability to care for the kingdom more than for your tribe. Basically, the church planting mindset is not so much a matter of trusting new leaders but trusting God. Paul does not give the new churches up to themselves or others. He committed them to the Lord.

In the above I was struck by the repetition of key phrases, "give away...lose control...losing...letting go...give up...care for the kingdom more than your tribe..." Is it any wonder we do not see more CPMs in our midst? We want control, we try to control, we are control-type people. But CPM is about surrendering over to the Lord these aspects of who gets the credit, who is in control. It is an understanding that it is about HIS kingdom, not our kingdoms.

My dream is to see God's people mobilized into the harvest fields by the thousands. I strongly feel the role of apostles (missionaries), prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers is to prepare the saints for harvest work. Can you imagine what would happen if even a third of those who profess themselves to be followers of Christ would actually OBEY what He commanded in Matthew 28 and truly go out and begin to make disciples, baptizing them, and teaching them to observe the commands and instructions of Christ? But we have quite the contrary mentality in our churches. The idea is to keep people happy and content with church life--that which takes place in the four walls of the church building. Yes, we do a lot of good things, but are we fogetting to make the "main thing the main thing?"

6 comments:

abrasseau said...

Yes, those first two are home run hitters. I think control and money is definately a factor that is found at the base of many of our problems in churches back home, not that either is wrong but how it is used or gone about becomes the problem, at least in my home county those two factors have been a major role in the splits and fights in serveral of our churches. Like he says, mindset. It is how our mindset is wired that controls how a church will become. Then, these problems flourish the same from our mindset in the U.S. as we go outside of our homes. One of the biggest things too is the realisation that we are not home anymore. Ecuador is not Mexico and definately neither is it Germany or the United States, etc. We have to learn to think with the mind of Christ and not our own. It does not mean that we cannot learn/use from each other or from how we did things whereever, but we have to be open to the Holy Spirit because God is the one in Control.

Darrell said...

I share your vision Brother. It is the Lord's vision.

I believe it to be "New Wine" that needs "New Wine Skins". After spending a week in training in Texas with folks who's entire life is in traditional church I was reminded of a mind set I have forgotten now that I have been pursuing a CPM for 2 years. It was ironic being in a large Baptist Church Building learning about CPM's. People constantly tried to fit a CPM into existing structures. I found it sad, and disappointing. Even the teachers were trying to give the traditional church hope that they were fine and did not need to change. I realized that the old wine skin is good for old wine. The traditional approach will bless the generations past, and they can bless those God is calling to CPM methods. This vision we share will not be seen changing the old wine skin, it will be seen creating the new wine skins for this new wine.

The greatest gift we can give the traditional church...where ever we live is a CPM where they are. Those who are able to change will jump into the wonderful river of life. So many saints are stuck in the traditional church without understanding or belief that there is a better way. We can give them that understanding, and bless and equip them as they come. Then release them into the harvest.

Burkhalter Ministry said...

Guy,

Bob Roberts just got back from Vietnam where he saw a CPM first hand...he commented on it on Sept. 20th. check it out.
http://www.glocaltrekker.blogspot.com/

Anonymous said...

Guy,

Good insights. The love of money is... "the root of all failed cpms". Well, maybe not all. Control is the real issue. We are church planting in the flesh, not the Spirit, when we don't let them grow up and take responsibility; leaving them in the Lord's hands.

I like Darrell's comment. CPM, or whatever you call a great movement of the Holy Spirit to win a people to Christ, will not happen using prexisting structures that are too rigid (old wineskins). The structures that the Holy Spirit uses are flexible enough to allow the freedom necessary for multiplication to take place. That means NEW biblical indigenous churches unfettered by tradition or outside control and money.

mr. t

guymuse said...

abrasseau, Darrell, burkhalter, and Mr.T,

Thanks for the good insights and comments to the Keller quote. I too found it helpful to identify one of the major causes for not seeing CPM: control factors and money. Leadership is about empowering others to do those tasks that only we think we can do. Giving them the basics and then entrusting them to the Father is easier said than done, but we are slowly getting there.

Darrell said...

Wow that is good!


"Leadership is about empowering others to do those tasks that only we think we can do. Giving them the basics and then entrusting them to the Father..."