By Shannon Youell
We have been talking about five ways of joining God’s momentum at work in our churches and neighbourhoods.
Way #1 was looking at joining as bringing two or more things together. Of pooling and sharing our resources, energy, wisdom and expertise bringing collective “we-impact” and the faithful presence of our Father into the places where hope is fleeting.
Momentum Element #2 invites us into one of those practices by way of Venture Partnerships. Financially supporting church plants dramatically increases their success rate and their long term sustainability. When we can provide the best training, coaching and mentoring along with resources to actually do the work, we can change our North American statistic of a 30% church plant success rate to a much higher rate. But it does, as the article points out, take a village to do so. At CBWC we are committed in finding ways to partner so resources are well-utilized.
Momentum #3 invites us to be “ears on the ground” wherever God has placed us. God has given each of us an area of stewardship of all He has created, which includes land and natural resources, but also people! When we are gospel listeners, listening both to the Holy Spirit and to the voices in our individual and corporate lands of stewardship, we may hear stories of existing independent churches who long for belonging to a tribe for collective impact. We may also hear of new expressions, or existing groups beginning to listen to where God would call them to join Him at work in neighbourhoods. These ministries could use the coaching and training available through CBWC and partner church planting groups. Since we all have ears to hear and eyes to see and we all have stewardship, we invite you to connect with those folk and then connect with us to work with you and them to see God’s Kingdom expand.
Numero quatro (#4), challenges our math skills and our theological and missional thinking. As sent ones into the world to be salt and light and witnesses of Jesus, how are you and I intentionally building an ethos of multiplication (making disciples of not-yet believers who then make disciples of not-yet/new-believers) into our faith communities and churches. Our challenge to us all is ask God to show you where He would have you join Him and then, when He impresses you with His heart, call us to explore what it could mean for your church.
Which brings us to the grand finale – Momentum number five.
This is the scariest one. This is the one we don’t really want to talk about because it points all the laser eyes at me and you, our own personal selves.
When we set aside the books, the conferences, the conversations, the models, methods and metrics, church planting momentum is basically one thing and one thing only: you and me telling people about Jesus and guiding them to discover new life in Him. And as far as I can tell from my Bible, we’re all to be a part of this work.
Sadly, our North American church track record is that approximately 90 percent of us have rarely talked about Jesus with our friends, family and co-workers. And when we do, it is with great fear and trembling and awkward attempts to explain good news that doesn’t seem so good by time we’re finished with it!
Or we’re so determined and pushy that our priority is how many notches we have in our belt for getting folk to say the ‘sinner’s prayer’ (rather like closing a sales deal). Should our priority not be to introduce our friends and neighbours to a relationship of discipleship where Christ is revealed as we go?
As you go, proclaim this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give (Matthew 10:7-8).
Over the course of the next several months, we at CBWC Church Planting will be exploring our embedded cultural norm of exempting me, you, and us from Christ’s command to proclaim the Kingdom of God as we go in all the places we live, work, play and pray.
We’d love your thoughts, stories, comments on this topic as we go on this journey together with you.