A few weeks ago, as I began to think about the task God has called me to, and began asking folks about what resources I should utilize in preparing to launch a church, Tony Kummer over at Said At Southern said "read and listen to everything Ed Stetzer says or writes".
I visited Ed's website, but hadn't really come across any of his books. I'm in a Christian bookstore the other day and looking on the shelf and low and behold, look what I see before me, like manna from heaven. I purchased it with a gift card I had been given about a month or so ago, and for the next little while on The Jonah Syndrome, I'll share my journey through this book.
Chapter 1 - as you may expect - covers the basics and justification for planting missional churches. A wealth of information in here. Hopefully, I can share the highlights and organize the information.
CHURCH PLANTING GOAL - To reach people: And not only are you a church planter, but you are also a missionary as well. And you can be a missionary without ever leaving your Zip code.
Ed then covers five things that today's church planter should be:
- Missional - The posture --the way in church we approach people in culture
- Incarnational - Emphasizes the importance of relationships in effective church planting. It's not about establishing a location for worship, it's about establishing a basis for coming together in the first place.
- Theological - Relevance to the culture should never clash with the power of Gospel
- Ecclesiological - The Biblical ideal and model of church does matter and is the goal of church planting
- Spiritual - The church planter has to be Christ-centered and transformed by the power of the Gospel. A newcomer needs to leave the church being amazed by the awesome God the church planter serves, not what a cool preacher the church has.
OBJECTION 1 - Large Church Mentality (MYTH: Bigger established churches reach more people than new churches do)
Unfortunately, the statistics don't support the myth. Consider the following stats:
--Churches less than 3 years old = 10 new converts a year / 100 church members