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church planting

A random thought.

We are not called to invite people to go to an event crated to entertain people we call church. We are called to proclaim the Gospel, tell everyone about Jesus, preach the kingdom of God, to heal the sick and we are called to make disciples. So why is everyone obsessed with simply inviting people to an event they call church when we are not told to ever do that, Jesus did not come suffer and die for people to join a event called we call church. So then why is it the people are not proclaiming the gospel and making disciples?

Why are pastors so obsessed with proclaiming their church, lifting up the church when Jesus said “Lift Me up and I will draw men unto myself .” Why is their marketing all about the church and what has to offer in the way of an entertaining experience and not about Jesus and the Gospel. Why do they train their people to promote the church and not teach them how to proclaim the gospel to the lost, go to the lost with the gospel and teach them how to make disciples of the nations and not be salesmen for church attendance?

I heard a presentation today that broke my heart, the speaker compared the Church to products like Crest and toilet paper. And that it needs to be marketed just like them, a commodity that needs to be packaged and marketed just like Crest.

Jesus and church are not commodity to be marketed like toothpaste. Church is an event of the Holy Spirit in the lives of the followers of Christ. Something that happens when those whom Jesus indwells, whom are filled with the Holy Spirit come together in community.

Is this what we come to, that church conference are put on just like an infomercial for some get rich business scheme. Like a Madison Ave. company meeting discussing their marketing tactics to improve and move their product. Like so fly-by-night pyramid scheme, with the CEO telling his managers they must get their sales teams fired up, get them motivated and produce sales or they are fired.

This is a said time in church history. I know the men speaking and they are good men, love God, they just have lost sight of Jesus and what the church is, how it is done. Lord may they get back on track.

Read my related posting here.

The question was asked of me, “What do you see as the difference between Church Planting and Starting a Church?” Which one are people really doing?

I see the difference as this. Starting a church , which to me is mostly about creating an alternative to a church people already go to. In other words all you have is church transplants, people who are already Christians and are just leaving one church to go to your new one. And getting Christians who stop going to church for one reason or another (most unhappy with last church), to come to your new improved version.

To where “Church Planting” I see as like what happened in Acts chapter 2, where the disciples where gospel planting and that was resulting in salvations, which resulting in a church, a new community of followers of Christ, i.e. church planting. In Church Planting the church is birthed out of new salvations just like in Acts with the 3000 (Acts 2:38-48).

Almost all of church growth in the US is church transfer, that is Christian going to a new church or leaving a church to go to the latest version of church, mixed with unchurched Christians trying church out once agan. Take mega churches, they are like Wal-Marts, where ever they spring up, a dozen small churches close.

In China and the rest of the World we have “Church Planting”, people going out and planting the gospel, resulting in people coming to Christ, resulting in new churches – community of faiths.

A “church planter” I know went door to door to over 3000 homes introducing himself saying he was starting a bible study, shared the gospel and invited people to come. The result, many came to Christ, he planted a church. (read more on this planter here.)

The key is “Gospel Planting” results in “Church Planting “, gospel planting must preced, happen first to have church planting. Jesus did not tell us to go plant churches, He said go and plant the gospel and make disciples and He would build the church, and that’s what happen in Acts.

There is nothing wrong with starting a church, we can use that too, I would like to see church planting come back to America, i.e. Gospel planting become the focus, churches coming from new salvation not transplants. See Acts chapter 2 happening in every neighborhood. Just my vision anyway.

You can read more about church planting in my Blog How to plant a church for Free.

The most blessed man of God I know is my friend Lloyd, he is currently on his way to India to help rebuild a hospital, he just got back not to long ago from spending several weeks in Africa. I meet Lloyd in 2001 here in Kansas City, we joined a church planting movement on the same day and served on staff together for two years planting a church before he when back to Canada.

Lloyd is the father of four, two boys and two girls, lives in Canada (most of the time), so why do I conceder him so blessed of God, his life. Lloyd chose long a go to live for and serve God at what ever the cost. Lloyd has been all over the world doing God’s work, North and South America, Europe, Africa and India, India alone 3 times in the last three years.

Lloyd has his own business, so that he can work when he wants, and take off when ever he needs to go where ever and when every the Lord leads him to, he spends 4 to 5 months a year doing ministry. He has planted churches, pastored churches, preached the gospel across the globe, fed the hungry, built homes, church and hospitals. He can even lead worship, plays the guitar and sings.

Lloyd could work 50 weeks a year like everyone else and make really big money, but instead he doesn’t. He owns a modest home just barely big enough for a family of six, drives older cars, he could have a bigger more expensive house and drive new cars. But he rather live like he does so he can go into the world with the gospel.

His kids never had all the frills most kids enjoy today, all the expensive gadgets and toys, or designer clothes. But what they did have is a life that a lot of people only dream of, they had a father who showed them how to love, worship, live for and serve God with all your heart and take the gospel into the world. While other kids where playing Xbos 360 and Wii his where seeing the world, feeding the hungry in a third world county, learning how to plant a church, how to do evangelism. His kids where writing worship songs and singing worship, and even leading bible studies before they where old enough to drive. That is brining up a child in the way it should go. His daughter Melissa is now in college and the most in demand worship leader in Canada, now recording her second CD and she just turned 21. But she has had 21 years of first hand experience of serving the Lord around the world.

A life time of serving God by taking the gospel to the whole world, planting and pastoring churches. A beautiful and godly wife,two beautiful daughters and two sons all following and serving God, what more could a man ask for in life.

He is the most blessed man I know, has the life I would love to have.

I was thinking this weekend about leadership/planting conferences and just how much things have changed. The agenda of so many conferences that happen these days really concerns me. There are still some good ones out there, but some not so much, so one really need to be careful in picking one to go to. Here are some comparisons to church conferences 25 years ago was like compared to todays.

25 years ago: Prayer was the centerpiece of the meeting, a lot of time was devoted to seeking Gods will, plan for the church. The presents and guidance of the Holy Spirit was sought wholeheartedly at every point. Everything was taken to God in prayer to seek His approval.

Today: Prayer is just short opening and closing statements.

The Agenda

25 years ago: It was how to get the gospel out, how to present the gospel to this generation, to reach the lost and see the world saved. How do we equip the people to go and witness to the world.

Today: The speakers come armed with marketing and business plans, most conceived by professional marketing company’s, the majority are even secular marketing companies. Business models taken from wall Street adapted to doing church.

25 years ago: How do we transform the body into the image of God,

Today: How do we transform God and the church into the image of the world. Change the church to please and attract the unsaved to feel at home in the church.

25 years ago: The focus was, the person of Jesus Christ, the Word of God, the Holy Spirit, worship, holiness, sanctification and prayer. Emphases of going into the world and reaching the lost, salvations. The vehicle, missions, outreach, the daily lives of the body and church planting.

Today: The focus, marketing plans, business models, entertainment, how to attract and keep people coming. Multi-site church franchising.

How things have changed.

I think my name and Blog where second only to Obama’s over the last few days on the web. My Blog was linked to and my name mentioned on more Blogs and sites that I could list. I set a 3 day record on number of hits on my website. All traffic generated by my Blog on Sunday on my views on the new multi-site church concept, unfortunately most where attacks.

Yes I know there are some who are doing a good job with this platform, but it is few that are. Even with the few doing a good job with it, I still believe it is taking us the wrong way to do church, not how church should be done.

I would like to say this in response to it; most all of the ones I have had the time read so far only offer in defense, evidence that try to prove it is good, and I can only say I find them not valid. The only two arguments presented that I read everywhere, it is right, good because it is producing big numbers, large crowds of people and big income.

So big news, the church has caught up with the modern business world, learned about franchising and mass marketing and that it works. Leaned what Ray Kroc (McDonalds) implemented 60 years ago and perfected. Create a pre-packaged product, mass produce it, franchise it out and deliver it in a palatable from, with constancy, that is the same menu, recipe and packaging with fast service, and get max profit. The church has discovered what business has been doing for years, consumerism. Learned that great marketing tricks and plans draw in mass numbers of customers. Do it by creating prepackaged goods that meets consumers perceived wants and needs with quick drive through service speed.

Yes! multi-site churches will draw in big crowds but since when is the number of people coming to something the judge, the measuring stick to what is of God, blessed by God, good and right. Large attendance does not mean it is of God, blessed by God or even a good thing. Does the end numbers justify the means? Of course not.

The goal and purpose of church has never been to simply get people to attend some form of experience called a church.

The real question is what are you selling them, drawing them to, what is this pre-packaged product, mass produced goods you are offering? Is it the real church we see in Acts, the one Jesus died to start?

How did we get to this point of thinking that success is large numbers, large attendance by any means? That just as long as people are attending we have succeeded. Thinking that church is “anything” that creates large crowds and keeps them coming back, entertains them.

Real Church, the biblical church. Is something of the Spirit, too powerful to be replicated by human effort in a pre-packaged program. Because it is a God thing, a Holy Spirit induced, created thing that only He can make happen. Real Church can not be pre-packaged and mass produced, but a imitation of it can be.

Maybe it would be better to ask ourselves this about a church service!

Is this is what Jesus came and died for us to be part of?

This is what the gates of Hell shall not prevail against? …….Really?

Did Jesus really have to die to make happen what happened, how you did church?

Did it require the presents of Jesus, the Holy Spirit to make the service happen? Or is it something man alone make it happen?

Could everyone see that what happened at your church proved the necessity and result of Christ death and resurrection?

Did it enable the people to grow in the knowledge of and in the image and likeness of Christ?

Where visitors struck with awe and say only the power of God could have made that happen and not man?

I think these would be a better measuring stick for if it was church and church done right than how many showed up.

Read ordinal Multi-site blog here.

How to plant a church for Free. Zero dollars down to start a church. And No building required, yes that is right, no building even.

Despite popular belief it takes lots of money, it actual does not cost money to plant/start a church, well let me qualify that, it depends on the motives of the planter. If he has visions of grander, wants a 5000 seat sanctuary with a Starbucks in the lobby and a support staff of 50 to serve him, well then it does take lots of money. But to plant a church God’s way and for His purposes it takes not even take one dime.

I read blogs and listen to would be planters talk all the time about how do I raise $500,000 or a million dollars and some even more to plant a church? And how do I find a massive building big enough, and all this before they even have one person they are discipling. Let me give you three stories to explain how to plant without a dime, for free, money wise that is.

Greg Laurie, at age 19 he had a vision to reach people for Christ and start a bible study in his apartment to disciple them. He began sharing Christ with everyone around him; his bible study grew at a steady rate. Thirty three years later he has a church of 15,000. That was not his vision or plan when he began that first study, but it was God’s. His passion was to reach the lost. Cost in dollars to plant his church. Zero

Skip Heitzig, moved to Albuquerque with his new job as a salesmen, he decided to begin a home Bible study to reach his neighbors. Today a church of 15,000, his vision was simply reach his new neighborhood with Christ and disciple them. Cost to plant, Zero dollars.

Fred Herron, (I was part of this story). Fred felt the call of God to plant a church. Fred moved to the neighborhood he wanted to be in then he went door to door introducing himself saying he was starting a bible study and invited people to come as he shared the gospel with them. His bible study soon out grew his apartment, so he moved it to the clubhouse of his apartment complex, all the time still going door to door sharing the gospel and inviting people. Years after that first bible study in his one bedroom apt and Fred knocking on over 3000 doors, and many coming to Christ, the church today has 3000+ members. Fred’s vision when he started, reach the lost and have a body of believer to pastor. Cost to plant the church, Zero dollars.

You see God never told us to build the church, Jesus said He would build His church. We are told to proclaim the gospel, make disciples and Be the church. So if you go and plant the gospel, disciple the ones God ushers into the kingdom and pastor them well no matter how small your flock. God will add to the numbers according to His will. It cost no money, but it will cost your life to do it. Hours of prayer, door knocking, gospel planting, discipling, foot washing and teaching. Cost you your nights and weekends as you still work a day job to make a paycheck. But not one dime of money to plant one. You see the guys above will tell you anyone who really is about the kingdom, reaching the lost, expanding the kingdom, all of that with the power of the Holy Spirit is all you need, not money.

There are thousands of stories like the three above that prove my point (including the scriptures). You start with planting the gospel, be a “gospel planter” first and God will do the rest, no money required.

“Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin.” Zechariah 4:10

New Post about church:  Church God’s Way

The ultimate church leadership, church planting conference speaking team that I would like to see, be at.

My list of speakers: Greg Laurie, Francis Chan, Ed Stetzer, Steve Trimmis, Tim Chester, Tim Keller, Loren Cunningham, Matthew and Tommy Barnett, John MacArthur and Chuck Smith.

Why:

Greg Laurie – Harvest church
Started his church as a home bible study age the of 19, now it’s a church of 15,000. Has done the Heaviest Crusades for over 15 years with over 500,000 salvations to its credit. He knows evangelism and how church should be done, all about reaching the lost and making disciples and he can teach the word like no one else.

Francis Chan – Cornerstone Community Church
He has doing church right, understands it and is going for the biblical church we see in Acts. He amended his churches budget so that 50% everything they receive goes right back out the door to the poor, starving and missions. Gave up a $20 mil building and gave the money away instead. And can teach the word of God most excellent.

Ed Stetzer – LifeWay
He gets missional; he understands the church is not to just set there, it has a purpose, it is sent out. It is to be moving into the world for the sake of the Gospel.

Steve Timmis, Tim Chester – The Crowed House / Total Church
They get church is a community, how to be the church in its simplest and most organic from, a community on a mission for the sake of the gospel. If a church does not have community right, first, they do not have church.

Tim Keller – Redeemer
He gets the gospel is the center of everything, need I say more.

Loren Cunningham – Youth With A Mission
Founder of YWAM, nobody knows or understands missions or how to do it like him. Pastors can learn the urgency and necessity of missions being a priority of the church. The church need to send out both church planters and missionaries.

Pastors Matthew and Tommy Barnett – The Dream Center LA
They understand the churches roll in meeting both the physical and spiritual needs of the community, how to transform the city for the sake of the gospel, transforming the city, the whole person. They know God is about the redemption of all of creation, the whole person. They know how to take the church beyond the four walls.

John MacArthur – Grace Community Church
John is in the top 50 most influential Christians in the world (2008), not because his teaching tickles the ears and makes him popular. But because he knows how to study and teach the word of God without compromise to please man. He stands firm on the word of God, the gospel and biblical Jesus. He is on the short list of pastors left who know the word of God and actual teach the word of God. He is one to learn how to study and teach the word without compromise. He may be dated in some of his methodology, but he has the fundamentals and dedication that every pastor today needs.

Chuck Smith – Calvary Chapel
God changed the face of Christianity and how church is done through him. Calvary Chapel, Chuck Smith was the primary vehicle God use to fuel the Jesus movement that spread across the globe. He birthed the modern praise music we use, birthed Christian rock music. And the best estimates are that God added 10’s of millions (salvations) to the church directly or indirectly through Chuck. Calvary grew not like churches today by church transplants, but by new salvations, they baptized over 500 a month for 20+ years. What other living pastor can make such a claim? He knows what it is to be God’s man to change the world. Chuck understands rising up new leaders, Calvary sent over 1500 young pastors who planted new churches. When you count in the Vineyards, yes John Wimber came out of, start with Calvary Chapel that is anther 1500 that came out indirectly via Chuck Smith. He is also one of the most gifted bible teachers alive today. There are volume to be learned from this man, he is the likes of a Charles Spurgeon or D. L. Moody. you want to learn how to raise up leaders and send them out, he is your man.

This is just a buch of guys I would like to put together and hear their story, learn what they have learned from God. How they got to that place to be used by God. Even just a day with each of them, break some bread and talk would be great.

The problems I see with the multi-site church, why do I not like it, I feel it is moving the church totally in the wrong direction, away for community, more towards just being a show we put on.

1. It is continuing down the road to make church impersonal, a spectator event that you merely attend, in fact not even the pastor attends it.

2. Detrimental to creating and having community .

3. I think it puts in a dangerous territory of being really egotistic, it is saying that one pastor alone can do the job of pastor/teacher for the whole city, the state or even nation, so we must teleport him instead of sending out others God has called and gifted to be pastors.

4. Takes away the use of others in the body God has called to be church planters and pastors. So now what do we close all the seminaries now, becouse we no longer need to train pastors, we have no use for any more of them.

5. Isn’t this just turning the body into consumers, creating a pre-packaged product, mass produce it, franchise instead of a living organism lead and controlled by the Holy Spirit.

6. Removes the pastor from being over a flock, he has no personal contact or involvement with the people he is to pastor, in fact he does not even see their faces from the pulpit, because he is not even there.

7. Didn’t we just spend the last 5 years telling pastors the need to contextualize the gospel, their sermons to the culture and needs of their neighborhood? And now we are saying take the same message and broadcast it to every neighborhood and culture. Hum, very confusing.

Bottom line, does this really accomplish what the church is about, to be, when we look at scripture. How does anything Jesus did or we see in Acts even remotely look the same.

And what saddens me is the number one motive, justification I keep hearing in support of them is extreme profit, how much money can be made with them, that they are a great profit center. Since when is that what church is about.

(Read part 2, follow up posting.)

In a Idea Session (The Idea Camp ) the question was asked “How can the church
get focused on real relationship? How do we build bridges between the
pulpit?” That is how do we get community in our churches. What I contributed can be summed up in four lines, statements.

1. Community is not something we add to church, community is what church is, church comes out of community.

2. If community did not happen, church did not happen.

3. We have made church a spectator sport in America, we have trained People to come as consumer’s, as if they are going to Vegas to see a show, to come and have church put on for them, then go home. People do Not come to be part of making church happen, to be a community, because that is Not how church is done here in America for the the majority of churches. When church is done in a impersonal way how can we expect the people to be personal about church.

4. It would help if the Pastor would step out from the pulpit and do life with the people, do community with them. Not just show up like Elvis, do a show and leave the building, they must lead people into community by doing community. They must be like Jesus breaking bread and washing feet of their flock, living in community with them. Community will be encouraged to happen when pastors begin to have community with their people, lead the people into it. When he makes church something personal, about community so will others.