Rss

  • twitter

The Church is the Hope of the World

image

The hope for America is in the hands of your church and my church. God has entrusted us with His gospel and it is our responsibility to reach our communities with the good news. That is why our purpose statement for North America is “raising up a generation of church planters to transform their communities with the gospel!”

Stories of life transformation are occurring as church planters step out in faith and obey God’s calling on their lives. These planters are obeying their responsibility to cast their nets and God is responding by filling them.

First, “raising up!”

There must be a system in place to develop leaders through discipleship and mentoring. We are dedicated to assessing, training, and coaching church planters but it is churches that produce church planters (Acts 13:1-3).

Do you have a farm system in place for developing leaders in your church?

  • IDENTIFY potential leaders. Always be looking for young Timothys, and others, that God brings your way to mentor.
  • INVEST in potential leaders. Develop a process that will properly equip and empower them for leadership.
  • INITIATE potential leaders. Develop entry level points of service and ministry. Assign them projects and observe how they do before ever considering them for any position.

Second, “a generation!”

Here are some shocking generational facts Thom Rainer has reported that show how every American generation since WWII has become less churched!

  • Builders – born before 1948 – 65% attend. Boomers – born from 1948-1964 – 35% attend.
  • Busters – born from 1965-1976, – 15% attend regularly.
  • Bridgers – born 1977-1994 – Only 4% attend.

While not mentioned above, no one has forgotten the “Millennial” generation, those 20-to-37-year-olds, referred to as “the most researched generation in history.” The new generation in town is Generation Z. They are still in their teens but are rapidly coming into their own.

What are we doing to reach them with the gospel? Are we equipping the teens in our churches to share the gospel? Barna Research reports, “nearly half of all Americans who accept Jesus Christ as their Savior do so before reaching the age of 13 (43%), and that two out of three born again Christians (64%) made that commitment to Christ before their 18th birthday.”

Third, “church planters!”

Our church plants are also producing church planters. While statistics say 90% of church plants never plant another church, two of our church plants have reproduced already.

Grace Hills in Northwest AR has sent out Michael Smith and Cody Woodward to plant in Siloam Springs, AR and Refuge Church in Terrell, TX has sent out Todd Cox to North Atlanta.

Both of these congregations planned well for this step of faith and multiplication. There are always concerns of when is too soon but usually we wait too long!

Dave Browning said, “The time to start a new location is when we have the leadership to execute it, rather than the people to attend it!” He adds, “We have never done demographic studies prior to launching a small group, cafe, or center in a community. If there are lost people in the community and leaders willing to reach them, then we figure we need to be there.” We talk about reaching our nation for Christ but very little missional action is taking place!

Fourth, “to transform their communities!”

Here is an example of how transformation can occur. Church planter Anders Lee in Southaven, MS shared how they rented a bowling alley and Jason’s Deli. Over 60 people, who they knew were unchurched or dechurched, were invited.

They funded the cost of the bowling and the food based on a core value, “Our Dollars match our DNA.” They printed welcome cards that included a simple note of thanks for coming and an invitation to their worship services. There were 34 “Oikos Connections” that showed up.

Several couples were asked to greet and have conversations with their guests using the “tap” method. If one couple was talking to a guest and another couple came up, before they could leave they had to “tap” them on the back to let them know they were handing them off. It worked because 26 of the 34 came to worship the next Sunday and 4 families said they would definitely be back!

Transformation of communities begins with the transformation of hearts by building relationships with them through “oikos.”

Fifth, “with the gospel!”

As we send out church planters all across North America we are sending them to proclaim the gospel which is the power of God for salvation (Rom 1:16). Verse 15 says, “So I (Paul) am eager to preach the good news to you.” Our church planters are eager to share the good news of the gospel to the people God has called them to reach. They desire to be culturally relevant and community sensitive but their first commitment is to be Biblically sound. Jesus is the only answer!

Every church should increase their involvement in church planting! Many think we have all the churches we need but the opposite is true. It has been estimated that there will need to be 700,000 more churches planted by 2050 just to keep up with population growth. It takes all kind of churches to reach all kinds of people.

We have a responsibility to reach as many people, in as many places, in as many ways as we possibly can! . Samuel Johnson gives us this challenge, “We need to get urgency up, fear down, and complacency down. We have to get predisposed to go anywhere, to go to anyone, and to go now.”