By Shannon Youell
I have a confession to make.
I’m not sure what I think about the term ‘church planting’. In fact, since coming into the role of Church Plant coordinator/director, I have been trying to find a succinct descriptive of what we mean when we talk about planting churches.
I’ve asked the question to any who would hear me out and asked for suggestions, thoughts, wild ideas even. Not because I think the term is a bad one or anything, but because, like any word or term that we routinely toss about, we have preconceived ideas of what that looks like and for me at least, the term speaks recreating/reproducing structures. Build and they will come. And some will for sure and I am ever so grateful that one can find churches all over communities when the Spirit begins to woo the curious to return to what has been rejected or to discover what they’ve always yearned for.
But is that recreating/reproducing of places of worship the metric we should use to determine if the Great Commission is being fulfilled? I just don’t see where Jesus called us to be church planters though he certainly majored on the making of disciples and commissioned us to do the same.
So, for me, the metric is that we are disciples of Jesus who make disciples (of not yet and new believers) who grow into communities who choose to gather together to worship, pray, teach, learn, eat, laugh, mourn, and sometimes even ‘do’ life together, not only for an hour and a half on Sunday or Wednesday study or prayer time, but also when we scatter into our everyday lives and the everyday places we find ourselves into and scatter seeds of gospeling as image bearers; light bearers of Christ, who make disciples who grow into communities who choose to gather together…..
Maybe that is how you would describe church planting and I just have to get over my preconceived bias of what the term seems to represent, but either way as followers of Christ, each and everyone of us (not just ‘leaders’ or ‘pastors’ my friends) but every single one of us who confesses Jesus as our Savior and our Lord, fall under the descriptive. We are the ‘church planters’, the ‘community seeders’, the disciples and disciple makers.
I would love to hear any ideas you might have on how we can rethink our language around ‘church planting’, or ways you are re-framing , or ways you are re-framing your gathered faith community to become disciples who make disciples?
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or post a comment on this blog.
We can all learn from one another, so let’s start sharing!