Develop Strategies for the Four Fields
Remember that creating a church planting movement requires that we have strategies for each of the four Fields:
For an Empty Field we need entrance strategies such as mapping, prayer, and planning
For a Seeded Field we need Gospel strategies such as finding the person of peace and ways to share our story and God’s story.
For a Growing Field we need discipleship strategies.
For a Harvest Field we need pastoral training and church planting strategies
When you are struggling to get multiplication started review whether or not you have strategies for all four fields and evaluate if your strategies are being implemented properly and if they are effective.
Reports from the field
I am going to try and summarize some of the things I know that are happening among those who attended the September training as we seek to implement a church planting movement. If I missed what you have been doing, please contact me and let me know.
Clifton, NJ, Casa de Oracion – Camilo and Myllar – Have established a class for training church planters, have done some mapping, and have identified a person of peace in Jackpot, Nevada.
Walton, NY, New Hope – Larry and Jack – Have established a class for church planters with six people. They are going through Bruce’s “Mobilizing Members.” They have done mapping of nearby communities and have picked a community to start in. They are going to go to the community and see if God identifies a person(s) of peace with which they can start a church.
Pottsville, Pa – Storm – Storm is beginning a church planter training group with at least five people. Last Sunday during his worship service he talked about Bruce Bennett’s story and then gave an alter call asking people who think God may be calling them to plant a church to come forward. Three people came forward and two others came to him after the service and said God was calling them also. This church had just moved from being a church plant to becoming a Free Methodist Fellowship the week before. Storm has a vision to plant 100 churches in the Pottsville area.
Plymouth Meeting, Storehouse – JR – JR has had a pastor training group for several years, but has begun shifting the emphasis to send out people from this group to plant churches. JR has identified several persons who are getting ready to be sent out.
Wilkes- Barre District – Al Sones, Leader – The Wilkes Barre District pastors have been trying to implement parts of this system and to encourage pastors and learn how to get started. They have mapped some new towns that they are considering working in and have sent people two by two to several of those towns to just meet new people. While they have had several meaningful ministry conversations with people, they have not yet identified a person of peace that would become a church planter. They have literally gone to the “marketplace” by walking into a grocery store and finding people to have conversations with. The district pastors have also begun to implement the “to do” list part of Bruce’s teachings. This group has a vision for planting new churches across Northeastern Pennsylvania. At a recent meeting the district pastors have decided that their monthly meetings will now be focused on church multiplication.
Windsor, NY – Kevin – Kevin has spent time praying over a map and seeking God’s guidance about which community to go to next. He has identified the community and has gone to that community seeking the people that God wants him to work with. He is also working with the people in his churches to find ways to send them out into new communities.
If you have been doing work that is not on this list, please let me know.
I think the key is to just get started: Map an area, go to the area, start a group, begin training the people in your group to pastor and plant. It does not necessarily have to be in that order, but if you are not doing those four things, nothing will happen.
Gathering for Peer Learning
It is clear that a lot of us are in the experimentation stage of this work of multiplication. We are trying to learn how to do this, and do it in a way that will “work” in our culture. I think that one of the great assets that we have that we need to take advantage of is the experiences of each other. I would like to propose a Sharing our Story Day in which we would listen to what each of us is doing and find what is and what is not working. I am thinking of doing this somewhere in northern Pennsylvania sometime in the second week of December. In a few days I will send a link to you at which you can list your availability to meet the second week of December. This event would be open to everybody interested in learning how to create a church based church planting movement.
Working on the Pastor Training Material
Bruce Bennett has graciously made available to us his six volume “Pastoral Training Course.” The district leaders have hired Craig Hendrickson to examine the entire course and to adapt it for our use. We want to produce it in a form that can be used as a course taught in a local church and also as a course that can be taught to larger groups as an internet class. Pray for Craig as he begins this project.
Be with Him
We have all been mentored by different authors. I have read Thomas Kelly’s, “A Testament of Devotion” my entire adult life (and have given away many copies of it.) Here is an excerpt from Kelly:
“MeisterEckhart wrote: ‘There are plenty to follow our Lord half-way, but not the other half. They will give up possessions, friends and honors, but it touches them too closely to disown themselves.” It is just this astonishing life which is willing to follow Him the other half, to disown itself, this life which intends complete obedience, without any reservations, that I would propose to you in all humility, in all seriousness. I mean this literally, utterly, completely, and I mean it for you and for me—commit your lives in unreserved obedience to Him. …When such a commitment comes in a human life, God breaks through, miracles are wrought, world-renewing divine forces are released, history changes. There is nothing more important now than to have the human race endowed with just such committed lives.”