A Lesson from Church Planting Movements
- posted by: Brandon W
- posted in: EUROPE
- posted on: July 23, 2012
Earlier this month, Mission Frontiers published an article by Carol Davis on five lessons the American church is learning from church-planting movements. (Read the full article by CLICKING HERE.) Not only is Greater Europe Mission training field workers across Europe in these very principles of disciplemaking and rapidly reproducing church, we're also partnering with churches on this side of the ocean to offer the training in the North American harvest field.
Below are some thoughts inspired by the first lesson that Davis writes about, with more thoughts to come over the next few weeks.
COME & GO: The shift from inviting unbelievers to come to our programs and building to sending believers into their world.
Property and dedicated church buildings in Europe are nearly impossible to afford and maintain for church congregations. Rather than a fund-raising problem to overcome, this issue represents an opportunity to abandon the resource-sucking paradigm of attractional church, strip it down to the essentials, and assume a posture of sentness.
He is a sending God, after all.
He sent judges to correct Israel before they demanded a King. He sent Jonah, before (and after!) Jonah demanded that God conform to Jonah’s agenda. He sent other prophets to His people, with mixed results, usually ending in Israel’s demand to go their own way.
At the climax of God’s story in scripture, God sent Himself into the world. While here, the God-man sent twelve of his followers (Luke 9) and then seventy-two (Luke 10). Don't miss the one time in the Gospels that Jesus is described as being full of joy in Luke 10.21 in response to the reports of those seventy-two sent ones! His parting words to His disciples were that of a sending nature (Matt. 28; Lk 24/Acts 1; Jn 20), and were of course reinforced by the sending of His Holy Spirit.
While the newly commissioned church tended to stay in Jerusalem (Acts 11), God used the church in Antioch to send the Apostle Paul and others (Acts 13) to proclaim the Gospel to the far reaches of the Roman Empire, and the ends of the earth.
A few hundred years later, God sent a young Roman Christian to a relatively remote region beyond the pale of the Roman Empire. A hundred years after Patrick unreservedly reached Ireland with the Gospel, God sent Irish monks to reintroduce the Way of Jesus to a paganized Europe after the fall of the Roman Empire.
Of course, it doesn’t stop there. The thread of God’s sending activity in our world runs through the entirety of God’s story to the present day. So why does it often seem that we as the Church in the modern west resist being sent, even to our own society?
We might find some answers if we ask the same question of the biblical narrative. Why did Israel resist? Why did Jonah resist being sent? What was behind the hesitancy of the church in Jerusalem to go to the Gentiles? Of course, if we’re honest enough, we may also find a few answers unique to our situation in a postmodern, materialistic, techno-savvy culture.
God has always had a missionary relationship with humankind. He sends Himself and then
He extends the sending of Himself through the sending of His people. Our hope is that the Church, both in North America and in Europe, would re-capture something of what it means to be a missionary people sent by a missionary God.
Categories: Evangelism / Discipleship