Intrepid Book Foreword by Brad Brisco
As we count down the days for the release of our book Intrepid: Navigating the Intersection of Church Planting + Social Entrepreneurship we will be sharing brief snippets of content. Here is the Foreword written by Brad Brisco, Director of Bi-vocational Church Planting for the North American Mission Board and author of The Missional Quest and Next Door as It Is in Heaven
Interest in church planting has skyrocketed over the past decade. As a result of declining attendance and the closing of many existing churches, every major denomination is focusing more resources toward starting new congregations. We have also seen the creation of multiple church planting networks that emphasize church planting across denominational lines.
In the midst of this proliferation of new church startups, a significant trend is the starting of new churches by bi-vocational leaders. Historically the phrase “bi-vocational pastor” referred to a leader who served a church that was unable to compensate a pastor with a full-time salary. Therefore, the pastor would work a second or third job to supplement the salary the church could provide. This was mostly out of necessity rather than preference. Often the term “tentmaker” (the Apostle Paul’s trade described in Acts 18) has been used to define this type of church planter.
Today, there is a new movement of bi-vocational leaders. These church planters are choosing to plant bi-vocationally with the conviction that bi-vocational church planting actually provides a more desirable way to plant a new church (it’s no longer embraced simply as a solution to limited funds). In other words, bi-vocational church planting is becoming a first option, not a last resort.
However, what excites me most about this fresh interest in bi-vocational church planting is that it gives planters the imagination to rethink what it means to plant a church. Planters are recognizing that as we do ministry in an increasingly missionary context, we must move beyond traditional church planting approaches. Historically, church planting methodology has really been about “launching” a Sunday morning worship service. While there may still be a place for this approach in some pockets of North America, those contexts are decreasing rapidly. We desperately need a fresh vision for church planting in a post-Christendom context.
That brings me to this latest book by Sean Benesh. Not only does Sean provide this new imagination needed for church planting—that focuses on Kingdom ventures that partner with what God is already doing in a city—but he challenges planters to see themselves as church planting missionaries rather than pastors starting worship services. He paints a beautiful picture of the interplay between mission, social entrepreneurship, community restoration and church planting.
What Sean is proposing will help to mobilize the planting of new churches across North America in under-reached and off-the-beaten-path communities, particularly communities that have been in economic decline and are transitioning to revitalize their local economy. Consider the impact of churches planted where people come to Christ and the community is lifted up through new businesses, non-profits, job creation, and more. If you desire to see genuine and long-lasting community impact, then you must read what Sean is suggesting, and step into the adventure with both feet.