While there I picked up a copy of Neil's "Organic Church: Growing faith Where Life Happens." As founder of Church Multiplication Assciates, Neil and gang have grown to more than 700 churches in 32 states and 23 nations in only six years. There are quite a few out there "talking the talk" but not necessarily "walking the walk." In my book Neil and gang have earned the right to be listened to and learn from.
In Chapter 13 of "Organic Church" Neil shares what he would do differently if he were to start again. I personally identify wholeheartedly with each of these seven issues and have seen the truth of them in our own church planting ministry here in Ecuador. Neil writes...
FIRST, I would begin in the harvest and start small. Don't start with a team of already-saved Christians. We think that having a bigger and better team will accelerate the work, but it doesn't. In fact, has the opposite effect...churches birthed out of transformed lives are healthier, reproductive, and growing faster. It is about this: a life changed, not about the model.
SECOND, I would allow God to build around others. Don't start in your own home; find a person of peace and start in that home. Read Matthew 10 and Luke 10, and do it.
THIRD, I would empower others from the start. Don't lead too much. Let the new believers do the work of the ministry without your imposed control. Let the excitement of a new life carry the movement rather than your intelligence and persuasiveness.
FOURTH, I would let Scripture, not my assumptions, lead. Question all your ministry assumptions in light of Scripture, with courage and faith. There is nothing sacred but God's Word and Spirit in us; let them lead rather than your own experience, teachings, and tradition.
FIFTH, I would rethink leadership. The Christian life is a process. There is not a ceiling of maturity that people need to break through to lead. Set them loose immediately, and walk with them through the process for a while. Leadership recruitment is a dead end...Leadership farming is what is needed. Any leadership development system that doesn't start with the lost is starting in the wrong place. Start at the beginning, and begin with the end in mind. Mentor life on life and walk with them through their growth in being, doing, and knowing. The end is not accumulated knowledge but a life of obedience that will be willing to die for Jesus.
SIXTH, I would create immediate obedience in baptism. Baptize quickly and publicly and let the one doing the evangelizing do the baptizing. The Bible doesn't command us to be baptized, but to be baptizers. It is absolutely foolish the way we hold the Great Commission over our people and then exclude them from obeying it at the same time.
SEVENTH and last, I would settle my ownership issues. Stop being concerned about whether "your" church plant will succeed or not. It isn't yours in the first place. Your reputation is not the one on the line; Jesus' is. He will do a good job if we let him. If we have our own identity and reputation at stake in the work, we will tend to take command. Big mistake. Let Jesus get the glory and put his reputation on the line; He can take care of Himself without your help.