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undertow. The best way to defuse principalities and powers of the church to disciple one another and to evangelize their non-
postmodern culture is not to escape from it, but to learn its lan- Christian friends.
guage, master its media, and engage it on a higher level!” Today there is a massive movement in the establishing of
Amos describes a time “when the reaper will be overtaken by house churches. Google “house church” and you will find over 50
the plowman and the planter by the one treading grapes” (9:13, million sites! According to House Church Resources, “Over 112
NIV). This passage pictures a time when a tremendous program of million Christians worldwide do not attend a traditional church.
sowing and reaping will occur at the same time. Do you realize In America alone, it is estimated that over 5 million people are
that we are seeing three-year-old church plants reach 1,000 in
currently attending a house church.”
attendance? The majority of churches begun by church planters
We must recover, recognize, and release new missional models.
trained in our church-planting LABs are now larger than the aver-
Today there are emerging strategies with multiple expressions. You
age size of an American church in just
will find house churches, churches
three years! North America is now seeing
planted in schools and theaters,
an increase in the number of new
churches planted in China just for
churches being planted every year. This
nurses, churches in Berlin for youth,
is being accomplished by intentional
multisite campuses, and, yes, tradition-
church planting. As Mark Driscoll and
al and postmodern churches. Yet, the
Gerry Breshears wrote in their book Vin-
single most effective way to plant new
tage Church, “A missional church knows
churches is through an older existing
that God has sent it on a mission to a
church mothering a daughter congre-
time, a place, and a people.”
gation. Dr. Tim Hill, in cooperation
with the National Church Planting
We Must Become Missional
Office, will launch the first LAB train-
About Training
ing for such senior pastors May 18-20,
The idea of “planting” is an agricul-
2009. Perhaps we need to begin to
tural term that possibly evolves from the
think in terms of congregation planting
biblical emphasis on “plowing, sowing,
instead of church planting.
watering, and harvesting.” These con-
The Church of God has strategical-
cepts were very much a part of everyday
ly developed an egalitarian system of
life in Bible times. These concepts also
leadership to engage our culture and
imply labor, preparation, and the devel-
plant new life-giving churches. A col-
opment of a skill.
laborative effort through the leader-
We must properly equip church
ship of Dr. Tim Hill, the Church of
planters. Only the Holy Spirit can call,
God Evangelism and Home Missions
Department, Black and Hispanic Min-
but obtaining demographics, learning
istries, Youth and Christian Education
the skills of apostolic ministry, building
Department, the National Church
teams, researching the culture, and mar-
Planting Office, Multicultural Min-
keting all help to fulfill the call. We can
istries, amalgamations, and America
no longer afford the casualties of
Ablaze are building new strategies to
untrained, unequipped North American
expedite the planting of new church-
missionaries. The number one reason
es. Through the path of plurality, we
for church-planting failure is the lack of
will engage this emerging culture with
basic training in church planting. I
force, accuracy, and cultural wisdom.
encourage you to attend or send some-
God is calling our leaders to rethink
one to attend our national LABs. You will increase your potential
the mission of church planting. We are living in both exciting and
for success by 50 percent.
frightening times. Never fear. God is on a mission. Times are
Missional Models
changing, methods are changing, but His Word remains the same.
Christ will return to an effective, relevant Church. We need every-
Our doctrine is nonnegotiable, but the outer forms through
one to engage in this mission to plant relevant churches—all types,
which we reach a dying world should be negotiable. When John
all styles, and all ages. However, a missional church stays focused on
Wesley, the founder of Methodism, died, he had a congregation of
what is truly important. As Gary Davis wrote in his book Church in the
100,000, which was made up of 10,000 small groups. The small
Wind, “We don’t care if you’re wearing a suit or a T-shirt and jeans;
groups typically consisted of 10 people who met weekly outside of
what we care about is the condition of the heart.”
EVANGEL • APR 2009 7
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