Start a Church Multiplication Movement: Live on Mission and Give permission

Ed Stetzer has written a blog series on how Christians, by thinking differently, could see a church multiplication movement in the West.  Here are some of my favourite exerpts:

“…when I look at the state of church planting today. We’ve adopted a mentality of “clergification,” believing that the only people who can plant churches are full-time, paid pastors. As a result, we have a long line of prospective planters (because church planting is definitely the hot thing right now) all waiting for someone to say, “You’re clergy. You’re full-time. Here’s your money.” And there’s not enough money for all of them. We’ve bought all the church planting that we can buy, and that’s not enough to start a church multiplication movement. So there they are . . . thousands of planters, stuck in line waiting for their turn and their funding. Unfortunately, many times, we let one’s funding determine one’s calling.”

“We need to open more lanes. I’m not saying to get rid of the fully-funded lane. We need to keep that lane open while we redirect some other people towards other lanes. For example, we need to create a strategy that helps some pastors become bi-vocational. We need to help them find other jobs and teach them how to lead a church while doing it. Another lane would provide permission to ethnic leaders to go ahead and plant churches rather than having to walk through several layers of Anglo hierarchy to do so.”

“Strange as it may seem, permission is all many people need. They need some way to say, “What I am doing is legitimate.” Granting new people permission to step into church planting, especially in low-polity denominations, should be a commonality, and yet so many have an unspoken understanding of not thinking it proper for new people to plant churches.”

“Yes, I think that there are qualifications for the office of pastor (though not all churches need to be planted by pastors–that could come later). Passages like 1 Timothy 3 lay out those qualifications–but they do not list a full time salary and a seminary education.”

“Baptists and Methodists did not wait for permission in 1795 when they launched a Church Planting Movement in Kentucky and Tennessee. Nor did the Pentecostals in the 1920s. Or, the Vineyard in the 1980s. Pastors were MADE, not called–they raised them up from the harvest, gave them permission, and they planted churches. So it should be with us–and then seminaries can partner with us to train those planter/pastors “just in time.”

“So, find ways to MAKE, not just FIND, new church planters. It’s be done before and most of the groups see that as their “golden days” (just ask a Methodist about a circuit rider). Those golden days can come again if we will just live on mission, and give permission, like they did then.”

You can read the whole article here.

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