Sunday, November 18

What is the best way to start a church?

Answer: Start a church!

Back in the mid-70's, while getting a music degree from the University of North Texas, I was active in the church choir at Grace Temple Baptist Church. Terry Fansler was an extraordinary church musician, conductor and mentor. Terry believed, "the best way to have a great choir is to have a great choir."

These words can be applied to just about any worthwhile endeavor...

The best way to share the Gospel? Share the Gospel!
The best way to make disciples? Make disciples!
The best way to start a church? Start a church!

It seems a lot of our failure to obey the commands of Christ is rooted in our thinking if we can just somehow get people together and share with how to do something, they will somehow go out and implement everything we have taught them to do.


Personally, I think we have some of the best contextualized church planting materials and methodology being used in Latin America. But the best means nothing unless implemented. What is missing?


Desire may be there, but if there is no real intention of planting a church, a church will not be planted.

I may desire to lose 20 lbs. Believe I need to lose 20 lbs. Feel convicted about losing 20 lbs. Pray about losing 20 lbs. But I will never lose 20 lbs. until I actually start by losing those first few pounds on my way to losing 20 lbs.  

You have to do it, to do it!

Well meaning believers have been coming to our trainings for many years. But the truth is, very few have the intention of actually planting a church. It doesn't matter how good the trainers are, how wonderful the materials are, or how excited people get, IF THEY DO NOT PERSONALLY INTEND ON BEING AN INSTRUMENT IN THE LORD'S HANDS TO PLANT A CHURCH, THEY WILL NOT PLANT A CHURCH.

So, what needs to be done? How do we address this issue?

In our case, we will train anyone for ONE MONTH making sure they have all the basics that are needed to get started.  After one month, though, it is DECISION MAKING TIME.  Either DO IT NOW, or don't come back. The only way to plant a church is to get out there and plant a church. Those who do start at least one group (what we call an outreach group), we will continue to train/mentor/coach. But for those who don't?  Well, Dios te has been fun...see ya around...thanks for your time...chao (good-bye!)

Does this sound too harsh? Un-Christlike? Too much like the business world? How did Jesus respond to the undecided, wavering, excuse-making disciples in Luke 9:57-62? 

As they were going along the road, someone said to Him, "I will follow You wherever You go." And Jesus said to him, "The foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head." [that 'someone' never appears again in the pages of the NT] 
And He said to another, "Follow Me." But he said, "Lord, permit me first to go and bury my father." But He said to him, "Allow the dead to bury their own dead; but as for you, go and proclaim everywhere the kingdom of God." [Jesus leaves this guy at the cemetery and moves on] 
Another also said, "I will follow You, Lord; but first permit me to say good-bye to those at home." But Jesus said to him, "No one, after putting his hand to the plow and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God." [Jesus declares this guy 'not fit'. He too disappears from the scene.]

What do you think about these things? What has been your experience in training church planters? If you have personally experienced a better way to start churches (not something you might have read in a book, but something you have actually done and it works), THEN PLEASE SHARE YOUR EXPERIENCE WITH US. We would love to hear your thoughts.


Roger said...

Hi and greetings from Paraguay!
Great blog!
The issue of intentionality is a key here as well, listening and doing, and keeping on doing.
We use the 3DM approach with their Lifeshapes and Huddles,
It´s really just in the beginning stages but adresses the main need in our context, a continuous disipleship.
In Him,
Roger, Benjamin Aceval, Paraguay

J. Guy Muse said...


Thanks for stopping by. "Keeping on doing" seems to be a theme that keeps coming up in our own ministry as well. It is easy to become discouraged, but over the years we have found that perseverance pays off. Would be interested in hearing more about how things are going for you there in Paraguay.