Just Stop It…

We have been in Texas for two weeks. It has been crazy. I have SO much to process, and write about. For now I just want to share a brief nugget from a meeting I was in last week with a brilliant man named David Watson…

Nobody knows about David. He hasn’t written a bestseller, he doesn’t pastor a large church, his name doesn’t appear in newspapers and magazines (In the states anyway). He is wise, humble, bold, and God has used him in amazing ways. As a result of David’s training and mentor-ship there have been more than 100,000 churches planted all over the world. (God gave him a vision to plant 500,000 churches before he dies=) 6 million people have come to faith in Christ through these communities of faith, and discipleship training.

My friend Osei and I had the privilege of spending about 2.5 hours with David for lunch last week in Irving, Tx. We frantically took notes as he shared wisdom from his experiences. We asked questions, and discussed dreams and visions the entire time. I’ll never forget the way he answered a particular question I asked…I don’t even remember the question, but am realizing more and more everyday that his answer is actually the answer for MANY questions that a lot of us have been asking lately.

I’m about to share with you David’s answer, and then ask for you to think of the many questions that come to your mind that this question could be the answer to…

In response to a question from me David replied, “Aaron, stop working with, and worrying about Christians. JUST STOP IT. Focus on reaching the lost. Make disciples, and watch them multiply. Watch new churches start along the way. Don’t start churches with Christians, they bring too much baggage to the table, and you spend all your energy working through that baggage and lose sight of reaching the lost. Besides, new believers are full of passion, and excitement; they do not understand, or get distracted by all these issues that we Christians find ourselves wasting our time/energy on.”

Wow. I reflected back over the past year, and thought about how that answer could have saved me a lot of stress, pain, and heartache. Not to mention, produced a lot more fruit! (Please know that this is NOT an excuse to neglect the discipleship process that must take place with those of us who are ALREADY believers. David is simply referring to reaching the lost in a powerful way. He is a FIRM believer in the discipleship process. He is submitting that those of us with apostolic roles in the kingdom MUST start BEING apostolic by seeing new works started as disciples are made. Many of us plant churches with an original desire to “reach the lost, and spread the Gospel” but find ourselves five years in, running ourselves ragged trying to please the same group of Christians that we may not have even seen come to know the Lord; they were already Christians and joined us from somewhere else in pursuit of something that would “better meet their needs”.

What are some questions that you think this answer applies to? What are some areas of stress in your life that this statement breathes peace into?

More Greatness From “CPM’s”

So I have some issues that I have been meaning to blog about, but keep coming across this amazing stuff in the book, “Church Planting Movements” that is so much much better than anything I have to say. Check it out, and let me know your thoughts…

On Church Leadership:

“Satan knows that if he can distort God’s teachings on the church and on church leadership, he can stop the flow of new believers into the Kingdom of God. The Bible has clear guidelines for defining church and it’s leadership. When we try to improve on these we don’t create a better church we create a church that is less than what God intended. Church Planting Movements are often derailed by well intentioned, yet inflated, definitions for a church or overwhelming requirements for church leadership.”

“In the New Testament Christ identified the church with Himself…Paul took this lesson to heart, often referring to the church as the body of Christ while identifying church members as members of His body.”

“In many older mission fields, church planters labor under the weight of years of tradition-built definitions of church and church leadership. This happens when well meaning Christians come to believe that they are not a church until they have been constituted by a national denomination, or have reached a certain congregation size, employed a seminary-trained pastor, secured church property, or constructed a building. All of these requirements exceed and encumber the biblical ideal.”

“When it came to church leadership, Jesus set the example by choosing disciples from all walks of life. He spent three years walking with them, and this became their license to lead.” p242

On Reaching The Lost:

“Conventional wisdom holds that one should always work through the local church to reach neighboring people groups. Though logical and intuitively appropriate, this approach is often not born out in reality. In too many instances the local church is the major stumbling block that is preventing the unreached from coming to Christ. Despite this fact, some missionaries have spent their entire career trying to turn the local church in the direciton of the lost. Others tied themselves so closely to the local church that they ended up sharing the church’s unsavory characteristics.”

“The best way to bring about change in a fallen expression of Christianity is by unleashing vibrant, living Christianity. Once authentic Christianity demonstrates Christlike virtues and begins drawing new converts into the fold, true Christians in the nominal churches will be attracted to the movement like moths to a flame. We have seen many instances of comatose Christianity awakened by the outbreak of a Church Planting Movement.” p246-247

On Empowering Local Believers:

“When we inject foreign elements into the church that the local believers cannot reproduce for themselves we alienate a Church Planting Movement.”

Garrison goes on to describe a story of Christian leaders in Latin America who came across a beautiful church building that had been built three decades earlier by American volunteers. The local members took great pride in the building, but had never attempted to plant any new churches, because they could not reproduce the only thing they knew. They believed that real church had to have such things, and so the moevement died before it started.

What are some things that we do in the church in America that might hinder new believers from excersizing their faith in such a way that causes new works to be birthed due to their feelings of not being able to reproduce the only thing they know about church and the Christian faith? Thoughts?