Monday, September 28

What would you do differently if you could start all over today?

For the past five years I have moderated an email church planting forum. Most of the participants are IMB-SBC missionaries engaged in planting simple churches throughout Latin America.

The first cpf entry on Sept. 24, 2004 was a question posed to the forum by a fellow missionay who asked:

1) What would you do differently if you were starting LA IGLESIA EN TU CASA (The Church In Your House) today? 2) What suggestions would you give to people that try something similar in a large metro area?

The response I sent in to the forum five years ago is pretty much the same answer I would give today...


At least four things come to mind...

1) Even though we worked hard at simplifying, I believe what we did was too complicated and over most people's heads (as evidenced by what is actually practiced today in most of those first house churches which were planted.) Just because something is said or taught, does not mean it is caught. I would model more, and talk less. Spend more time actually doing what it is we would like to see happening, and spend less time trying to explain things.

2) Maybe compromise a bit more on our own personal ecclesiology convictions so as to be able to work with a greater number of our more traditional Baptist churches. Yes, there are a lot of differences in the way we approach the Great Commission, but there should be more we have in common than differences. We have got to figure out a way to "package" what we are doing so that it is acceptable to our churches and national leadership.

3) Spend more one-on-one time with the individual servant leaders. While we have always given lip-service to the importance of this, the truth is we do very little in this area. It is easier to say come to such-and-such a meeting, than it is to go out to where these guys live, drink a glass of Tropical with them, and enter their world for a while, helping them where they are struggling. And closely related...

4) Spend more time with those first house churches to make sure the new groups were practicing the right things so that they would be able to survive and move in the direction of multiplication. It is a lot of fun to report large numbers of new groups being started, but the truth of the matter is we tend to let it go at that and do not do the harder work of seeing them through those crucial first 4-6 months. We might see fewer new church plants in the beginning doing it this way, but in the long run the numbers will come if we do it right!

No comments: