How to Start a Church Planting Movement:
It’s simpler than you think
“Discipleship Cycles” is a short paper that summarizes the entire church planting movement in 39 pages. It is the best short summary and short training document available. It is available to read free on the internet at http://www.scribd.com/doc/88649548/Discipleship-Cycles-T4T-Training-Material , but it is behind a pay wall if you wish to download it.
“Discipleship Cycles” really describes one person’s implementation of T4T. One interesting aspect of the paper is that it talks about creating an ethos among the people you train. It is important that as part of our training program we create a mindset that promotes and enables implementation of our plans.
Among the T4T church planting movements there is a distinctive ethos. This ethos has been used to guide their work and to give good reasons why this work of church planting should move forward.
This ethos takes away the great barrier to church planting that exists in a lot of people’s minds that it is too complicated for them to attempt. Encourage your people that if God has called them he will enable them to complete their task with the simple system that tens of thousands of people have already used to plant a church.
The CPM Training Ethos
1. Church planting is not rocket science (anyone can and should do it)
2. It is a great thing to love someone to Jesus;
It is a greater joy to start a new church;
It is the greatest joy to teach someone else how to start a new church
3. Just do it
Follow-Up Story: Finding a Person of Peace – Al and Storm go to Boiling Springs, PA (from Update No. 13
“Finding a Person of Peace is process, not necessarily an event.”
During Reframe Conference we had a small cohort group that met with Bruce Bennett for more directed training. One of the things that Bruce Bennett stressed is that finding a person of peace is often a process, involving several trips over a period of weeks or months into a community.
In Mt. Bethel Update No. 13 we had the story of Al and Storm going to Boiling Springs, PA to identify a person of peace. Below is the story of Al’s follow-up visit to their contact in Boiling Springs.
It’s also a fascinating experience to pray for my oikos with the belief that God is raising up many people from this household of faith to go into the harvest field (Focus 17/Mt. Bethel Project). (Note: Focus 17 is the Wilkes-Barre District’s initiative to plant churches in 17 counties in Northeastern PA.) I have this conviction that God is calling every one of these 234 to the Harvest – and Jesus specifically said to pray that the Lord of the Harvest will send workers into the Harvest.
To take this hike, I drive to the small town where Storm and I went on our Luke 10 Day. As I was coming back down the mountain, I realized that it was time to follow-up with the man that Storm and I met on our Luke 10 Day.
I went into his store. It was a very different dynamic from our Luke 10 Day – when the store had no-one else come in for the entire time we were there. The place was teeming with activity – many customers were there the entire time I was there today. This meant that I had only 10 interrupted minutes of conversation with the man we identified as a person of peace.
Since I wasn’t sure he would remember me, when I walked up to him, I told him who I was. He remembered me as I introduced myself to him. He was somewhat reserved, but very friendly. He smiled a big smile when he realized that I had been one of the two men who visited him some months ago.
I again told him that I had a strong sense that the call of God is on his life. He was warm and conversational for just about a four minute time period of the 10 minutes that we talked, before he had to deal with other customer’s walk up questions.
He said that he just finished watching the “Left Behind” movies again. He said that he reads his Bible every day, which, he said, “Makes me nervous.” He explained that he reads different parts of the Bible which say to not do certain things and thinks, “I’ve done that.” He gets nervous because he believes he’s in trouble with God. He was chuckling (ruefully). I told him that he needs to get to the part about forgiveness, and he looked at me and nodded as he needed to walk away from me to deal with another issues.
He also mentioned that he was aware that the Messianic Jewish convention (which attracts about 3000 people) is at Messiah College this week. I told him that God is at work among the Jewish people – convincing them that Jesus is the Messiah. He said, “Well, those are the people who have something to say about God.”
The conversation ended abruptly. He fully turned his attention to the next customer who walked up – without even acknowledging me as I said good bye. Now I don’t know if he has a hearing deficit, or if there was something else going on in his complete turn-away. I felt unsettled and disappointed by it.
Now, I’ve reflected more today on what it means to have a Person of Peace invite you into his/her house. Clearly this man is a man with spiritual interest. But he has not invited me to anything more in his life at this point. When we first visited him he told me to expect that he might show up in church some day. He has not. He also gave me his e-mail address that first day, but did not acknowledge the two e-mails I sent to him shortly after our first visit.
I find myself inclined to just go about my work in Boiling Springs, being sure that I cross paths with him whenever I can. I will take the teen group fishing in the lake right next to Rowland’s store – stopping in to the store while there.
I also know that the daughter of the man of peace we found in Port Carbon knows this man from Boiling Spring. I don’t know what to make of that connection – happenstance? Divine conspiracy? Her father describes this woman as having been turned off to church by a past bad experience. I’ve met her. She presents in a forceful, opinionated way and makes sure that it’s clear that she has other stuff on her mind. That might be her defense mechanism. But when I talked with her and about the man from Boiling Spring, she lit up with a big smile.
Christian Households Strategy Development:
Wanted… People whom God is calling to develop strategies for Christian Households
I am often asked the question of why is there no church planting movement in the West when these movements are thriving in the southern hemisphere and in Asia. My answer to that question is that in both the Scriptures and in our generation, church planting movements thrive where there are healthy households. In the bible these households were described by the Greek word “Oikos.”
One of the goals of the Mt. Bethel Project is to develop a Christian Households movement alongside of our church planting movement. We are seeking to develop a simple set of strategies that will enable discipleship to be done primarily in the home in a way that is reproducible from one generation to another. We want children to grow up in Christian households and to reproduce that Christian household for their children.
I am looking to gather a group of people who are called to help develop Christian household strategies. We will meet together both in person and by video conference to develop a simple set of strategies we can easily teach to parents. If you are interested in participating in this please contact David Harvey at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Be with Him…
“So justice is driven back, and righteousness stands at a distance; truth has stumbled in the streets….The Lord…was appalled that there was no to intercede.” Is. 59:1