Wednesday, May 20

What you need to know to plant a church

Sometimes my head spins at how complex we have made church planting. I am overwhelmed with all the books, studies, graphs, surveys, conferences, blogs, methodologies, strategies, experts, and current discussions taking place. The implication seems to be if you don't have a PhD and 4 years apprenticeship with a CP guru in Asia, you simply won't make it to first base in planting a church.

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.
  1. 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.

  2. 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!

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. Teach every new believer how to follow the above principles!
Now, go out there and do the above...and happy church planting!

6 comments:

Printing UK said...

All the best brother!

Bruce said...

Guy - This is so cool, so simple,
so clean and Biblical.

This is pretty much what I do where I go. I feel that most of our job
is giving people the right vision
and a few guidelines like these.
We can (and often do)add to it if
that'll help, but this is the basic
stuff. Thanks for posting this,
I love your blog. Bruce

GuyMuse said...

Printing UK and Bruce,

Thanks for stopping by. Less is more certainly applies to church planting and is a lesson I need to relearn daily.

Gabryel said...

great way to summarize and simplify all the great books out there on this topic.

btw in regards to new converts attending a home church, what approach do you all take in ecuador when it comes to laying down the basic foundations of our faith?

we'll be looking to start multiplying our home fellowship in the near future and want to ensure that our new believers are grounded in the basics. Do you all have some sort of systematic approach that's used and which resources do you use? Hope you don't mind me asking...

GuyMuse said...

Gabryel,

You ask, Do you all have some sort of systematic approach that's used and which resources do you use? Yes, we have what we call a "Ruta Discipular" where new believers are discipled one-on-one through a series of lessons and teachings. Discipleship begins immediately upon any kind of profession of faith. We have several different materials that we use, depending upon educational level, and costs. The most expensive book is $6 and is one we use from FLET.

Gabryel said...

Very helpful, thanks Guy.