When Planting Churches is the Byproduct
by·prod·uct | /ˈbīˌprädəkt/ | noun
a secondary result, unintended but inevitably produced in doing or producing something else.
It seems for many that church planting is the mission … the focus … the purpose. But what if we had it all wrong? Not really “wrong” per se, but we’ve put the proverbial cart before the horse. In a day and age where we’re slaves to our schedules, our personal vision and mission statements, value propositions, squeezing time out of our time management systems, and so on we’re all about the big push, the rush, success, and “making a splash.” Carry this over into church planting and we’re to prod, pull, and push things along at a frenetic pace to accomplish our goal of planting a “sustainable church.” Besides, we have to … there’s only funding for maybe 3-5 years. NO time for patience.
But if we’re honest we know this feels fractured and we are fractured. We want to spend time with people who don’t identify as following Jesus and yet our funding dictates that we move faster than those relationships have time to develop. As a result we skip over these relationships in hopes of quickly launching and growing our church (with believers from other churches or ones who’ve withdrawn from church). Inevitably that means living at a maddening pace that is unhealthy and unsustainable.
But what if it didn’t have to be that way?
Back to the horse and cart analogy. What if then church planting was simply the byproduct of a life lived intentionally? Whether you already live in your community or you’re moving into a new one that your focus is on seeking the peace, the welfare, or shalom of your communities. This could mean joining a non-profit, starting your own, volunteering, launching a startup, etc. What you’ll find is your life will be immersed with people who don’t identify with Christ (which happens much less than one realizes in church planting). It is at this intersection of relationships where the gospel “leaks” both in demonstration and sharing. Then when people begin responding … even if it takes years … then you gather them together. Friends … that is church planting.
Let’s keep it simple. The good news is free.