Archive for July, 2011
Though I have been away for a bit, I wanted to give a quick update on the last post which created some really good conversation about what the term might be in church planting if it is not a “launch.” With so much good input, it gave the church planter dealing with the issue, Jason Egly, an opportunity to work through this process with the sage advice of many that had gone before. (Thank you to all that participated in the conversation, your contribution was very helpful.)
So after much thought and prayer, Jason and his crew decided to go with: This is “our next step.” To make it a bit more emphatic non-event, they are using the idea that this is: Just our next step.” Thanks for processing with us Jason. I am cheering you on and praying for you as you move forward.
In this vein, I am sharing a video that I saw on Tall Skinny Kiwi’s site that may give more food for thought on this issue.
Of course launch refers to all things rocket related. It is the goal. The desired action in rocketry–much of which is explained in Sir Isaac Newton’s laws of motion–is about getting the vehicle off the ground. Newton’s third law is often summarized as: “for every action, there is [always] an equal and opposite reaction.” Ignite thrust downward in order to achieve lift. Rockets are conceived, engineered and built to leap off the ground. This is the goal for which people build them. Whether for recreation, science or weaponry, the goal is the same. Get the thing up in the air to a desired altitude and then you can add to it any functionality that one may desire.
So if launch is the goal in and of itself, then I would offer that it sucks for use in church planting. As this is not the realm of the laws of motion, launching a church does not hold to the confines and realities of physics. I have seen a lot of energy expended in church launches that proved unsuccessful and vice versa. So, because church planting and physics are not bound by the same physical laws, for this reason alone the term is less than adequate. In fact, it is wrong. But it is wrong for an even greater reason….
If launching is the goal, then it is possible that simply holding a religious service is the objective for which we strive. Some may say that it is a little more developed than that. Perhaps the goal is a recurring service which leads to transformation and development of disciples. I will pass on spending a lot of time on that here as I think this has been candidly dismissed by Willow Creek’s reveal. A public meeting, worship gathering, or church service–regardless of what you call it–is not the goal of church. Nor does a recurring service constitute a church.
If the church is conceived and functioning before any public declaration or launch, then what is it that we are kicking off? And with that what would be ideal for this launch thingy to be named? In the particular plant in question–(whether planting a church or planting the gospel is the goal is another topic for another day as well)–disciples are being made. Broken relationships are being restored. Justice is being pursued in the community. What this community of believers is about to do is let it be known to their neighborhood that there is a group seeking to live as the body of Christ, love God and love others so that those not already in community with them may find them more easily.
PLEASE help us with some input on this topic!
As several have asked about a recent event in our lives based on a tweet I posted on The Twitters, an update seemed in order. For readers that don’t know, during my recent travels our house was burglarized. No one was home and every one is safe though the pooch was a little shaken up. While the hoodlums didn’t make off with loads of valuables, they did disrupt our lives.
We are continuing to address the logistical issues which come from a forced entry break in. But on the bright side, we were able to have a meet up with a number of our neighbors to talk about what it would look like for us to act as neighbors rather than just as people who live in close proximity to each other. I do not believe that God has for us to live in strife with our neighbors. At the same time I do not believe that He desires us to have a state of apathy for those that live close to us. It is in our community–where one plants his family–that we are the incarnation of the gospel.
Our neighbors were skeptical about getting together the first time, but they decided for another get together much sooner than I would have proposed.
Off topic, I had a piece posted this week on the Upstream site on the Sent and Sending church. Well that was the published title. I originally sent it as “A Church Brouhaha.”