A couple of days ago, I met with a young Welsh church planter who has moved his family into a hilltop "council estate" (American translation: "government housing project") that needs a tangible, relational, relevant proclamation of the gospel in their needy community. This couple has actually purchased a home in the middle of the estate, indicating the seriousness of their commitment. He's originally from Pontypool, but the last couple of years has been spent in reaching young people in a similar—but more urban—situation in Cardiff, the capitol city of Wales.
We're exploring the possibilities of working together for the foreseeable future, as part of my involvement with the Waleswide church planting initiative. I don't know yet how things will work between the two of us—the ball's in his court right now—but it's just so encouraging to see God's hand at work in this way. My new friend is teaching a group of street kids how to rap (go HERE to listen and read the lyrics), and it's opened up Continue reading →
Money. It’s one of those necessary discussions, and sometimes a major factor, in the decision to pursue one’s passion to plant a new church. I get a lot of e-mails from those that come across my Grace Church Planting Ministries website, who see the incredible need all around them and who are seriously engaged in thinking through the process. And that process always includes, “How will I make ends meet?”
Many prospective church planters express the frustration of feeling trapped in their present “full-time” ministry because, as they often put it, “I would get a secular job, but I don’t have any marketable skills!” Most of these men would even be willing to flip burgers at McDonalds or sell shoes at JCPenny, but they know it wouldn’t pay the bills or provide the Continue reading →
Want to be a superhero? Have you thought about becoming a church planter? To read some of the literature out there, the average person can forget about applying for the job. You need the combined skills of a brain surgeon, rocket scientist, Wall Street financier, marketing expert, computer programmer, life coach, and motivational speaker. What does the typical North American church planting strategy look like for most denominations and various independent evangelical ministries or networks? It goes something like this Continue reading →
Stuart Murray Williams works as a trainer and consultant under the auspices of the Anabaptist Network. Based in Oxford, he travels widely in the UK and overseas and works with local churches, mission agencies, denominational leaders, conferences and individuals. He has worked with at least 25 denominations in recent years. His particular areas of expertise are in: church planting, emerging church, urban mission, mission in post-Christendom, Anabaptist history and theology.
Here’s a one-minute video clip featuring Williams, articulating their vision for urban church planting:
If your friends sometimes call you “Curious George,” perhaps you would like to watch more free video excerpts from the Anabaptist Network’s DVD, Cloud of Witnesses: Rediscovering Anabaptism. You may also like to visit the website of an emerging church (Peace Church) in Birmingham, England, that has been planted on Anabaptist principles and has spread to three other cities in Britain. Personally, I find this very intriguing and would welcome some online dialog regarding these brothers and sisters in Christ.
In his paper, "Church Planting in India," Stanley Mehta summarizes a presentation by D. R. David at the Bless India Conference held in Chennai in January 2006. He says, "amidst all the pressures and changes, the church in India is growing more rapidly than ever before. The persecution has begun to bring together many Christian leaders who have operated rather independently of one another in the past." Most of us in the Western world have heard the incredible reports coming from China, but I was really thrilled to read Mehta's explanation Continue reading →
For quite some time, the Alliance for Saturation Church Planting has been offering their Omega Course: five practical training manuals (free, downloadable PDF files) which each offer 26 hours of instruction; sharing a vision for saturation church planting as well as practical principles and priorities for accomplishing local church plants. Designed for modular instruction in a working seminar format, the training schedule can be adapted for work/ministry realities of church planter trainees.
An excerpt from Christ Fellowship of Kansas City concerning Why do we meet in homes? CFKC is a network of four SBC house churches in the Kansas City area. There are six good reasons, according to Jim Elliff, why they have planted this relatively new congregation according to the house church model. Continue reading →
What does the phrase, “church planting,” bring to mind? Having worked as a “church planting missionary” for many years now, I am convinced that many church leaders, denominational workers, pastors, and church planters have co-opted this phrase to describe what amounts to little more than starting a new franchise. Here’s the Wikipedia definition of “franchising” with my comments in brackets:
Franchising (from the French for honesty or freedom) is a method of doing business wherein a franchisor [the denomination or sponsoring church] licenses trademarks and tried and proven methods of doing business to a franchisee [the church planter] in exchange for a recurring payment, and usually a percentage piece of gross sales or gross profits [contributions to the denominational missions fund] as well as the annual fees.
Some church planters no longer see their primary mission as simply proclaiming the Gospelâ€”trusting Father to bring people to Himself and then gathering those new believers into a new community of faithâ€”because we expect them to successfully launch a new Continue reading →
It is the responsibility of the missional believer (church) to accurately exegete the culture into which she desires to introduce the gospel. It is equally her responsibility to accurately exegete the biblical truth she intends to introduce. The exegesis of the culture is not merely a diagnostic of the ills of a given culture, but also to gain access to its language, customs, heritage, and politics. The exegesis of the Scripture is not merely prescriptive to cure a culture’s ills, but to understand and be able to clearly convey the life giving message of the gospel. If the believer (church) fails to do both, it will result in syncretism or legalism, both of which are fatal to the missionary enterprise.
As I reflected on his words, it occurred to me that the exegesis of culture takes time, whether you're in Seattle, Melbourne, Nairobi, London, or the lush green valleys of South Wales. As we recently celebrated our third anniversary in a new culture, I am just beginning to sense a tiny bit of Continue reading →