Planting a Church or Group is In Your DNA
We spend too much time looking to the professionals to plant churches and start new groups. I don’t believe the first century church had church planting coaches, church planter assessments, church planter boot camps, church planting networks, books, seminars and materials. They just planted churches. How were they able to do it? Simple! People with vibrant relationships with Jesus, even though perhaps lacking in full understanding (Priscilla and Aquila) about God, have the spiritual dna of children of God. As such, they can certainly convey the truth of the gospel (at least as much as they know) and share their experiences with others and help others find Jesus Christ and also grow in Him. It is about gathering people to discover and grow in serving God together.
The daunting part is not the lack of professional ability to know how to plant a church. It is the daunting cultural expectation of “big buildings” and enough rows for people to sit in them while they stare forward and listen to a profound exposition of the Bible- complete with Greek definitions and certain answers to every question. In other words, our typical form of church scares people away from believing they can plant one.
Now that I have said this, it is often well-trained people who do this well. We most often train and support people to handle all of the intricacies of most church planting. I was one of those somewhat, well-trained church planters. But trust me; even the most well-trained people cannot do it on their own. They need committed Christians who love to love and serve. And, in some cases, our best churches have been planted by the inexperienced. My first few opportunities to witness this came in Asia (distinct countries and cultures). In one case, a 15 year old boy was leading a network of four churches- each with several hundred attendees- that he had planted after his conversion at 11 years of age. In another case, a 13 year old girl planted her first of four churches before the age of 17. I remember in the Philippines an 80 year old woman who had no pastoral experience had planted more than a dozen churches after the time when most people are retired.
Let’s support our well-trained church planters. Let’s also start gathering people who are interested in following Jesus and/or living a changed life. Without intending to, you might just discover that you are a church planter. You might also find that you have gathered a group of people who would make a nice core group for a church plant. Go ahead and underestimate your own ability. But, never underestimate God’s ability to use you beyond your ability.