Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Instead of "Church Planting"...

This is my idea of church planting....tending what God is growing and planting seed in places least expected.

A child can water a flower.

A child can plant a seed.

God gives everything else.

Just plant, care and celebrate the glory of God in the beautiful mess. Using the words "church planting" in our local conversations, is something I plan on dropping for a more accurate word...a word, that I have not found yet. I kind of like "Missional Communities" as far as emphasizing mission and community...but I still don't feel like that defines what I sense inwardly. It's not the wording of the work that I see but can't quite formulate. Church planting in an area that already has THE CHURCH is a misnomer. When I read the verse below:

"How beautiful are your tents, O Jacob, your dwelling places, O Israel! "Like valleys they spread out, like gardens beside a river, like aloes planted by the Lord, like cedars beside the waters. Water will flow from their buckets; their seed will have abundant water. - -Numbers 24:5-9

I see more church activating...than church planting.

"Tents of Jacob" embodies the image of "work" or mission, or a gathering, or ministry. Setting up Tents within Spokane looks and sounds different than planting churches...and its less heady, intimidating or threatening to people or established congregations.

Here's an example: If I had a heart for the "Jail" I wouldn't be talking about planting a church there but starting a work. And even if there were Christians already engaged in jail ministry; I wouldnt think that I couldnt do anything there...because the workers are always few and the harvest is always ready. It's less about us and more about them. "Going" is the motivation not "staying".

If we look at these endeavors as "Missional Communities" or some other less structured phrase, that would allow for a "ministry in a jail, school, college or feeding program...we could free ourselves from the "baggage" and weight connected to the idea of planting churches and be liberated to dream and engage in mission. Lots of people are coloring pictures of Kingdom in this city. Just because someone painted a picture of the Falls...doesn't mean you can't paint the same falls. The tools to create are available to all...paint, draw, write your song, dance your dance, throw your pot, string your words...open our eyes to the glory of God in the beautiful mess.

Jacob's Well people are living in Hillyard and the valley and other parts of Spokane...the church is planted...lets take seeds from her fruit and replant those in all kinds of places...with a conscious and focused vision and mission and a creative abandon that trusts more in God's power, love and saving grace than our limited resources, experience or faithfulness.

Erect a tent.
Spread out.
Plant a garden.
Break open the aloe.
Become a cedar.
Let water flow.
Plant a seed.

That is what I mean by engaging a neighborhood in mission and allowing vision to expand our hearts and eyes to the whole city.


Anonymous said...

...cultivating communities..community culivation...supportive community missions...community support missions...?...>,< lol

He told them, "The harvest is huge, but the workers are few. So ask the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into his harvest field. "Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves. Do not take a purse or bag or sandals. And don't greet anyone on the road. When you enter a house, first say, 'May this house be blessed with peace.' If someone there loves peace, your blessing of peace will rest on him. If not, it will return to you. Stay in that house. Eat and drink anything they give you. Workers are worthy of their pay. Do not move around from house to house. When you enter a town and are welcomed, eat what is set down in front of you. Heal the sick people who are there. Tell them, 'God's kingdom is near you.'

A light touch in intimate settings staying with them, community to community, food will be brought, you will be sustained. Sick communities will be healed and you will see God's kindom near you.

I have the best idea for a picture now too ^u^


Anonymous said...

Interesting thoughts Eric..... Would comment that relationship building cannot become an intentional act, without getting the stigma of having a "catch", or objective. The minute anyone of us goes to a specific place or area, with the specific intent of "planting" or "Building", you will be accused of having a hidden adjenda. Even when its not hidden at all.
Maybe the words you are looking for could be "relationship building"? It its purest form that is what the Lord has commanded. Not a whole lot more. His objective is that as we relate to others about His love, they will find a relationship with Him. That is His goal.
John 13:34-35 (loose translation) "I command you love one another. By this all men will know you are my followers, if you love one another." You won't find anything thats commanded more than to "Love".
Many kids hear; "do what I say, not what I do". What a warped concept. Sadly many have not seen the example of Christs love, but have seen a lot of 'church" stuff. A lot of it more about why we are different than those other Christians, rather than showing the Love Christs gives us for each other. To be honest the term "planting" seems to often mean planting our own little kingdom brand, rather than His kingdom.
I have a close friend, who is not a believer, but we see each other often in business. He is a good family man, very honest to deal with, and sadly much more honest than a number of Christian business's that we both have dealt with. We have talked about this. He has let me know that there are two places he will not go; bars and churches. Wow! What a slam! But hes right is saying so. Until he sees the Church loving each other and all who they deal with, he will not see Christ thru them. He sees men building their own kingdoms, and not the kingdom that is not of this world.
Please....I am not accusing you or anyone of having motives other than honest, when starting a ministry. But I am stating what I believe the majority of those we are trying to reach think. And I am also stating that in all too many cases, its too obvious that real kingdom building, or love for others is not what is seen.
Most all of us were saved, because we witnessed Christs love. I would challenge that none of us were saved because we saw a better program.
Relationship is the goal, the desire in every heart, and what Christ desires from us too. All strive for it. Sex, money, power, and all forms of relationships try to fill the void, which only the creator can fill.
I suggest.... skip any title that insinuates "planting". Keep people guessing what your up to. Let your motives be simply obedience, to what He wants. If they get close enough, and your walking close enough w/Christ (both involving relationship), they will desire to be "planted", and grow. If they sense another motive, I suggest they quickly run the other way. Its not what their really looking for.

blessings, Steve Eayrs

Mel said...

Great picture! :)

John said...


Your thoughts resonate well with some pivotal concepts Henry Blackaby identified a while back in the study, Experiencing God. Simply put, it's a matter of being alert to where God is already at work and joining Him there. What a privilege it is to be involved in the greatest endeavor ever known to man!

Blessings as you continue the pursuit!


Unknown said...

Thanks for all the thoughts folks.

Cole: I love those scipts...the casual and purposeful nature of proclaiming and living the gospel.

Mel, pics are swipes from other places...Im a guilty sinner...

I appreciate your well thought out response. That balance between purposeful and casual...misson and living...is a deep theological issue to me.

I think our missiology is deeply rooted in our theology and especially our soteriology. My understanding of salvation is heavily influenced by puritans/reformed and Charismatic leanings. I find the theological implications of someone being dead and distant from God and actually at enmity with Him in their hearts; to be one of the possible weak points of the discussion to me.

If we truly believe that people are dead to God and lost in their sins...than generally they will be disinterested in any witness, be it works, influence, words or a flashy God Gymnasium.

For me...I trust in the revelatory, transforming work of the Spirit to open the eyes of the heart. I step into the work taking place, not create it. I arrive afterwards...I am led. I do not lead in the work of mission, I discover it. I may plant or water or harvest but its all in response to a greater work that was before me, through it and after it.

I believe salvation is a gift.
With that predicating my mission, I am freed from trusting in manipulation, bait and switch, heavy handed driving, guilting workers or people, high pressure sales, gimmicks, programs, marketing and spirituality that is works based.

I trust in a God who is at work...unfolding His finished work in the old creation...to reveal the new creation.

Chrysalis is happening in this old earth...I am here to announce, point to, respond with, be overcome by, taste, sing of, paint and tell of it's mystery dawning on all of us...known or unknown.

Im not to concerned about people "running away" because its not my job to catch them....it's His.

I think Ezekiel revealed that God has given the world one shepherd now...we pastors stunk, failed and lost the position...and He brought the Good Shepherd of the sheep.

I rest in that...and let it be the motivation of my mission.

Not sure if I communicated my heart or not...hope you see it in the ramblings.

Im working on allowing that paradigm to move and direct me. ..not always easy in this day and age. Ive never read that book...I'll have to pick up a copy.

The Edge said...

You'll like Exeriencing God. It is a vision changing book.

I wanted to say that I have never met a pastor with your uniqueness. You have caused me to look beyond the "church" and see what God wants for His people. I hate the use of terms like winnering souls for Christ or taking the city for Christ. Where I believe that we engage in a spiritual battle, we are ot the ones that win souls. Only God can change a man's heart. But showing the people of this world the God loves them is where God works in their hearts. Thank you for busting the traditional methods and showing us how to take back what is good in God's creation.