Monday, March 9, 2009

SPANNING THE GLOBE

I am a huge fan of the TV show Lost. I am not sure those of us who follow Lost are as rabid about our show as those who religious view “24” (those show watchers are nuts), but we do love our twists and turns.

In a somewhat recent episode two of the primary characters (Ben & Jack) are in a church. They are looking at a painting of “doubting” Thomas reaching to touch the spear wound of the risen Christ. The two had a conversation that went something like this:

Ben: “Thomas was the one who said to his fellow-disciples, let us go with him (Jesus)
they we might die with him. But he was not known for that. Instead he was
known for doubting the resurrection of Christ unless he could see his wounds.”

Jack: “Was he convinced?”

Ben: “Yes, Jack. Sooner or later we are all convinced.”

It was a great scene! And I was taken by that phrase, “sooner or later we are all convinced.” I thought of it in terms of all kinds of situations, but the one I wish to apply it for the purpose of churches starting new churches. I choose to think that sooner or later every local church leader will be convinced of helping start new churches.

I was meeting with some Pastors regarding church planting. One of them asked, “What if I don’t have a passion to plant churches? Do I help plant a church just to be a team player?” (Great question by the way).

I responded, “It is not about having a passion for church planting, but a passion for seeing people come to Christ. Church planting is one of the most effective methods of evangelism. This being the case, and we are an evangelistic folk, why would we not add planting to our toolbox for connecting people to Christ?”

The number one reason to plant a new church is for evangelism. An existing church with an evangelistic fervor ought to consider the starting of a new church. Is your interested peaked?

So what does a church planting (multiplying) church value? Ed Stetzer in his article, Church Squared (Outreach Magazine, Jan. 2007), discovered six:

Reaching un-churched people: They view themselves as missionaries to their community, state and world.

Staff and membership involvement: Everyone buys in via actions and attitude.

Kingdom-growth focus: The dream of becoming a larger church is less important that the dream to multiply Gospel influence to a larger and more diverse audience.

Ongoing relationships: The churches started are connected through the relationships of those in leadership.

Selfless giving: Sacrifice and money does not intimidate a multiplying church. They do this with open-eyes and an open-heart.

No stalling: Lack of size or staff, or poor timing are not acceptable excuses for delay. They get it done.

Are you convinced? Maybe not, but sooner or later you will be. There will come a time when God will use someone or something to convince you that the Kingdom is best expanded through the multiplication of more missional outposts. Until then, keep working to engage the culture for Christ.

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