Church Starts In the Harvest
Yesterday I saw a new book by an author I follow hit the internet. Just seeing the book stirred my heart a bit, because though I know the author to be a church planter who talks extensively about starting churches the book is entirely about sharing the good news of Jesus with those who don’t know Him.
The reason this book stirred my heart was so often we can get caught up in planting churches that we forget why we do it. Church planting in the west has become about leadership, ecclesiology, and even sometimes doctrine, but Jesus meant it to be about something more.
In fact, Jesus doesn’t send us to start churches, He sends us to be His witnesses and make disciples of all nations. Church, real church, starts here. Churches are started when a group of people over time come to Christ and commit to Him and to each other as disciples of Him. This has to be our primary focus. If it’s not, all the new churches that we plant are really just shuffling around existing believers from one church to another, with no benefit to the Kingdom.
This will require of us to spend less time thinking through church structure and leadership styles and more time thinking about how to love the lost. It will require us to leave the comfort of our living rooms or sanctuaries or wherever our churches meet and bring Jesus to the places where people are. For true movements of the Gospel to happen we have to be where the people are.
If (and it’s a big if) we can get good at that, we will start to see churches planted where they’ve never been planted before: Under bridges with homeless folks and among gang members and in the board rooms of America. These things can happen. They already are in some places in this country. We just have to start seeing the role of church planter as evangelist + disciplemaker instead of church founder and CEO.
Remember, church starts in the harvest, not in the barn.