If, like me, you are intimidated by all the jargon and sensational stories about what others experience in more exotic, far away places than the neighborhood where you live, then this post is for you!
A while back Bill Lollar shared what I consider to be pretty much everything you need to know to get started as a church planter--call it Church Planting 101. Of course, there is a bit more to it that than just these six principles, but everything else are just "details." For now, Bill's six basic principles for church planting work for me about as well as all the information in the pile of books and manuals gathering dust in my study.
- Recognize that every Christian is “called” to communicate the Gospel message wherever they currently live and work. That’s the “Great Commission,” so why look for a lesser one? You don’t need anyone else’s permission, since God trumps everyone, and you certainly don’t need an assessment to share the Gospel.
- Continue in your present occupation (1 Corinthians 7:17-23), so you can meet your obligations, particularly the one that requires YOU to take care of your family (1 Timothy 5:8) and share with those in need (Romans 12:13; Ephesians 4:28). Ministry is not a career path for those seeking a comfortable salary, benefits, and a retirement plan!
- Act on principle number one and begin sharing the Gospel with your neighbors, friends, co-workers, and family members. There is usually no need to go anywhere else, because your world is already full of people who don’t know Jesus! Yes, it’s okay to relocate, as long as you remember principle number two OR a group of believers voluntarily agrees to support you as a missionary in another culture where it is unlikely that you would be allowed to take jobs away from the indigenous people group to whom you are being sent.
- Since God has promised to provide a harvest for those who labor like this in His vineyard, begin to disciple/teach those who express an interest in spiritual things, expecting the power of the Gospel and the work of the Holy Spirit to bring them to repentance and faith.
- Meet together with these new believers on a regular basis (Hebrews 10:24-25), thinking of creative ways in which you can stimulate one another to love and minister to others, as well as encouraging each other in the Christian journey.
- Teach every new believer how to follow the above principles!