• Our hope-filled future is bound up in sharing the story of Jesus, in discipling others, in bringing those disciples together into communities of believers, and in developing and releasing those believers to create other communities... till Jesus the King comes again!

The myth of being irreplacable


Bob Vajko, in an article in the recent edition of EMQ, writes that one of the first mistakes a church planter can make is “to wrongly develop dependency in the church we are planting.”  Most often, we err by doing so much in the early start up that community members come to believe that we are the only ones capable of doing the ministry.

By this, we create the myth of being irreplaceable.

It is not our intention at the outset to create this myth. God called us to be part of a community of workers that “establish and go” rather than “establish and stay”.  However, as time goes on, our investment in the work increases and it becomes more difficult to move on or to let go of the ministry and give it into others’ hands.

A few ‘myth-busters’ would serve us well at this point:

Others are capable of doing the ministry.  It’s such an obvious fact, but we can tend to measure capability by a standard that even the best disciple of Jesus would struggle with.  Having a developmental mindset or attitude towards others will encourage us to put others more quickly into ministry situations in order to allow them to ‘try out’ the ministry in a context of mentoring and coaching.

We ourselves entered into ministry in the same way.  None of us jumped from Sunday School into full-time church planting like some high school basketball players have done in jumping to the NBA professional league.  We were nurtured, discipled and trained by others and we grew into the ministry. Why should we expect it to be any different for those who become part of the communities of believers we are part of starting?  However, they need opportunities to serve and we need to give those opportunities to them from the very start.

People often do fine without us.  When the church planter is not present, it’s amazing how a community pulls together and does church.  As long as the church planter is present, some will never rise to the occasion.  However, should an opportunity present itself, those disciples who have been trained will assume their places of ministry.

We are as much a part of the community of believers that we are establishing as any other member.  Our role, though, needs to be from the very start one which develops, trains and releases others quickly into ministry and service.


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