Friday, November 5, 2010

A Paradigm Shift On Church Planting Movements In North America

In North America churches are being started way to slow for it to turn into a movement.  The rate in which churches need to be started need to grow exponentially in North America if we are going to see a true church planting movement take place.  In order for that to happen North American church planters and denominational leaders need to experience a church planting paradigm shift.

Over  the past several years there has been a lot of emphasis and expectations on starting churches that will grow into a mega church status with the ever expanding buildings, budgets and butts.  Those kinds of results have come to represent health and vitality of a church.  And it seems that everyone from seminary professors, to denominational leaders and even church planters have bought into that kind of view.  But with the limited time and resources available to us is that approach the best one for the North American church to follow?  Will that approach bring about the desired Church Planting Movement that we all feel is necessary to fulfill the mission of reaching North America for Christ?  I think not! And I feel it is time for a paradigm shift to take place on what is a healthy church and what is an effective church from a missional standpoint. 

Imagine and compare with me a church planter working hard and using lots of resources, both financial and physical, to start a church that will be averaging 3,000 people within a 10 year period.  At the end of 10 years this church has a large building complex, a large budget, multiple ministries, and multiple ministerial and support staff.  From all appearances this looks like a strong, vibrant and healthy church. And maybe it is! But has its stewardship of time been used wisely when it comes to fulfilling the Great Commission?  Or could those 10 years been used differently that would have had a greater impact on the number of lives that have been reached for Christ?

Now imagine with me a different church planter starting a church that will only average 50 people each Sunday.  In addition to starting this church the church planter also invests a large portion of his time training and mentor a future church planter who will go and start a new church the following year.  In addition to being trained in church planting this future church planter is also trained on how to mentor future church planters who will be able to teach other future church planters also.  Imagine this cycle continuing for the full 10 years.  What would happen during that same 10 year period if each new church planter annually trained a new church planter, that annually trained a new church planter and so on?  After 10 years the result would be 1,023 churches, averaging 50 people each, for a total of 102,300 people in attendance weekly.

WOW!  3,000 people in 10 years or 102,300 people in 10 years!  What approach do you think is a better stewardship of our time?  It's not hard to figure out!  So I have this question: Who are you mentoring to start a new church next year?  I'm working with Manny Acosta, last year we sent out Ed Villareal who started HIS HOUSE CHRISTIAN FELLOWSHIP and a few years back I mentor Larry Munguia who planted THE SOBER PROJECT of Tucson, AZ.  How about you?

Come on church let's make the shift and spend more time and energy raising up, training up and unleashing ordinary people into the church planting fields.  North America is depending on us to be wise stewards!