To Plant a Church or Not?

Posted by Teen Bean

So I was just considering the subject of "Planting Churches".

I live in Seattle, a city known as the least churched city in the whole of America. When I first heard this, as I was packing my bags for Seattle, I thought "Wow, it must be a den of darkness there"...

So when I rocked up here, I was a bit surprised to find that about ever 3 or 4 block in any direction that I walked... there was a church. Ok fair enough... so my question.... Why do I keep running into people that are "going to build churches in Seattle"... to me there seem to be enough churches... but what appears to be lacking is people willing to go and support these churches.

I can't speak for the rest of the world, because I really have only lived in America, but if there is any one thing wrong with the growth of churches in America, its that there are too many of them!

Now, you might think I am one of those haters against church diversity and such... and I completely am not... but the majority of people that come up to me and say "oh you live in Capitol Hill??" or "oh you live in the Central district?" I"m going to start a church there!!" ... and then I ask them "Do you know the churches that are in that area? Do you know the network of intentional communities that are working there already?" ... in which the majority of them stammer and stutter, then declare to me how they are going to do "something different" or "something new"... in which I give them a "ahhh ok... God bless... " and then whisper (maybe a bit too self-righteously) "you are going to need it!"

I am just finishing a course on Collaboration.... Absolutely Brilliant. Grant it, the course is a little tedious, but the material is seriously phenomenal.

The author Phil Butler, comments on how important partnerships are to building quality relationships and opening up opportunities for prayer. He also comments on how out of all the groups of people in the world, Christians have the hardest time working together. Why is it that a group of people that claim to have the same leader (God, Jesus, The Holy Spirit) struggle so much to find a common vision to work together and help each other reach their goals?

I thought the author was a bit crazy when he first started writing... I mean Christians are about selflessness, humility, and love... they practically have "to live is Christ and to die is gain" tattooed on their foreheads... right? But then I realized as I read case study after case study that, somewhere in the beauty of Church, some wires got crossed.

Maybe its just me, but I tend to find that churches like to see themselves as little tropical paradises. They've heard the good news, they are about it... if you want to come to their island then awesome, but otherwise they are a bit oblivious and less then enthusiastic to know what is going on around them... if a church is "radical" they might even send out people to go "make other island churches".

I've by no means am a world traveller.... and I definitely write this from a position of inexperienced and ignorance, but it seems to me that God is a pretty big God... and that he pretty much is working in ever nation, city, town, village, and (gulp, shall I be so bold to say) person....

Don't get me wrong... there soooo is a need for people to have passion "To Go"... but somewhere along the way the reason for "going" seems to have gotten mixed up. The way I see it, the biggest reason people should have a passion "To Go" should be to find God in the midst of the struggle and pain they have heard of... to find the best way to support His work. Some times, and I would dare say it is rare, God will ask people to build something from the ground up... but most the time God simply is asking people to go and find Him and support His body...

So why are people so fascinated in "church planting" and not "church nurturing/supporting".... Ok this is where I might get a little mean... so stop reading if you want to think I am nice...

To me it has to do with pride. There is no personal glory in supporting something you didn't "create" or "plant". It sounds a lot more exciting to say you went to a city and "made a church", that you "personally made a way for people to find salvation"....

I've heard lately that Europe is one of the spiritually darkest places and I've been reading ways that people are attempting to reach out to Europe. I ran across a definition of a city in Europe as any "place that has a cathedral", which makes me think that Europe probably has enough churches too... This got me to thinking. Wouldn't it be great if somebody... somewhere... started training up loads of people "To Go" and be "Church Supporters"?... That simply said... churches in Europe could get on a master list that identified them as site that wanted people to come and invest in the work of strengthening and empowering the church. (gosh they even good let local people know they were recruiting! wink)

In a way its flipping the coin... instead of Churches proclaiming, "come to us because you are messed up and we want to fix you" they could instead use the asset approach and be like "we see the worth in you, come get involved with us, we could use you around here!" Thereby letting people enter a loving relationship with God through the art of support and encouragement. hmmm sounds like love to me.

But it will take both the Church and Planters to realize there need to be a change in how churches are being strengthened and empowered.

Basically... all this just made me realize, that a seed is planted in a moment, but a tree takes a lifetime to grow... seeds are amazing wonders to impregnates the earth with... but trees are what give us the oxygen we need to take all those collective breaths of life. It amazing having seed planters, but it is also just as vital (if not more) to be the one that nurtures the tree and tenderly cares for it to make it the most helpful and beautiful creation it can be.... planting takes a moment... nurturing takes a lifetime.

all this to say... as important as planting is... I think there needs to be a revived training of people to support the seeds that have already been planted.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, November 17, 2010 at Wednesday, November 17, 2010 . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .


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