I recently had a very brief discussion with a fellow. I asked him if he was planning on planting a church in the Northwest. He said he is convinced that we should not plant churches in the United States – after all, we’ve been doing that for centuries. Rather, we should invest our time and resources into planting churches overseas. In the States we should look to pastor a fledgling congregation and trust God to grow it.
I understand the sentiment, and resonate with it on many levels. I am a little uneasy with the black|white-ness of it, though.
I like the bold-ness. I fear that many people have hopped on the church planting bandwagon. Let’s face it, we have church planting networks made for the very purpose who are not tightly linked to a church so that there is accountability. I am also uneasy about the idea that networks are sending men out in droves to plant churches. So many times jargon like military or buiness is used to make the man feel like he is doing something like a pioneer.
I have a few friends who are planting churches, are planning on it, or have planted. I have no angst against church-planting as my friend who seemed to have a vomitous aversion to the notion. I want to press the question that we have too quickly bought into the idea of planting a church rather than laboring at one. After all, there are saints at the churches that are languishing. There are buildings thet you do not have to look for. There are mortgages that are paid off. There are rooms to have community serving. There is a location in a community already established. Have we forgotten that men planted those decrepit buildings decades ago?
So…is there a need to plant churches with so many empty buildings…with a few elderly people that want to see a fresh movement of God’s presence at the once vibrant congregation. Many have got the rigor and the dream of seeing new things shaking in their city. But do we lack the foresight and endurance to labor with those who disagree with us? What about areas where there are myriads of churches with no pastor?