• 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!

Where do we go from here?

Just one more thought before I take a break from writing for two weeks: if we are agreed that the term ‘church planting’ needs to be expanded and restated, what do we do now?  Where do we go from here to communicate well the passion of investing our lives in such an adventure? where do we go from here

Here are a few ideas to mull over:

First, soak ourselves in the Scriptures, and particularly in the history of the expansion of the Church.  As I have been reading the book of Acts in recent days, I’m constantly amazed at the multifaceted outworking of discipling and bringing others into community.  It feels like discipleship and community are always in flux; shifting and adapting to new contexts (see Acts 11).  All the while, holding to the one firm objective of seeing everyone grow up together in Christ.

Second, listen to practitioners.  Oftentimes, in just listening to those engaged in ‘church planting’ on a day to day basis, we discover new ways of describing or painting the work.  Taking the time to just hear one another out might actually produce a host of new expressions as to a fuller picture of ‘church planting’

Finally, try out several new terms, concepts and images on one another.  The way that new expressions make it into our language and vocabulary is because people start using a term and it suddenly takes root in the mindset and heart of others.  We would benefit from trying out new ideas in community with one another; being willing to accept honest feedback and drop terms or images that don’t do justice to the passionate journey we are on.  However, some images or concepts might take hold and open up new ways to talk about our passion.

Whether you’re out in the garden, walking the streets of Hong Kong or sitting at the beach, why not give some time to ruminating on these ideas and see what God brings to your heart and mind.

 

 

 

5 Responses

  1. I wrote a short article a few months back entitled “I’m not a church planter”. It included a lot of what Ed Walker wrote in his last comment about true discipleship. I’m a disciple-maker. A church grows out of disciple-making. And my weekly ‘discipleship class’ is only a small part of what true discipleship really is. True discipleship is life together. True discipleship is why I want to move away from the people we work with to a compound far away with high walls, a strong gate and a guard instructed to turn everyone away. It’s tiring. It’s time consuming. It’s stressful and frustrating. It tests your patience and your faith. It’s walking with the weak, holding them up or even picking them up when they fall. Sometimes you even have to carry them for a bit. It’s hard, dirty, sweaty, and sometimes bloody. It’s full of sadness, joy, hope and surprises. It’s no wonder we can’t find a term to capture it all… It’s Life. It’s Love. It’s a life of love lived among the lost for the love of our Lord.

    • Though I agree in principle with what you say, in the end you are a church planter because anyone who ‘disciples people to Jesus’ brings them into community with Him and with one another. It’s a whole. I can certainly focus on one element, but I am involved in the whole process by the very nature of being united to Christ. I especially liked your efforts to get a handl on other ways to express what we do. The images you use are ‘parlant’ as we say in French and seek to give a richer view of what we do.

      • Right! Biblical disciple-making, if properly understood, includes the whole process. Church planting is therefore an inescapable part if a healthy church is not already available geographically. Disciple-making as outlined in Matt. 28 is the whole with church-planting being a fundamental element. This is what I understand to be our God given mandate. Is my understanding wrong?

        This distinction is important because it will impact profoundly the nature of our missions’ thrust and strategic thinking.

  2. Where do we go from here?

    This question was raised on Thoughts Along the Journey concerning both World Team’s purpose and vision including philosophy of ministry and how to appropriately and effectively communicate these aspirations in a way that motivates both the older and younger generations. To accomplish this goal without getting on a temporary hobbyhorse we need to ask and give valid and adequate answers to the following questions:
    • What mandates have God given all mankind that are recorded in the Bible?
    • What mandates has God given to His church as recorded in the Bible?
    • How do these mandates apply according to God’s specific calling of World Team as an agent of the churches?
    • What priority therefore in the light of our specific calling should World Team give to the elements within each of the God given mandates?
    • How does this prioritization fit into our agreed to statements of core values? (NOTE: How you answer the above questions will determine how justice & mercy ministries will fit into WT’s philosophy of ministry.)
    • In the light of our answers to the above questions, do we need to change, adjust, or fine-tune our purpose, vision, core values, and philosophy of ministry (POM)?
    • How should contextual considerations impact the application of our POM as to priorities?
    • In WT’s POM how are the priorities and limits of flexibility impacted according to the context?
    • Although rooted firmly in an unchanging God, His unchanging truth and unchanging mandates; does WT wish to be continually innovative in the means we employ and the terms we use to communicate those means of ministry in our rapidly changing world?
    • Will we use the le mot juste that is currently in vogue or will we seek to be on the cutting edge in our strategic thinking and action in our changing world that will require innovative new vocabulary to express the excitement of our involvement in God’s mission?

    These are some suggested questions from an 86 year old retiree for the younger missionaries.

    • I always love hearing from you on this blog. Great questions which push us to consider how we are to engage in God’s great missional design.

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