This blog is part six of the ‘Hope Experts’ series, a topic we’ll explore throughout 2020.
You Don’t Have to be a “Church Planter” to be a Church Planter
You don’t have to be a “church planter” to be a church planter. The first time my wife and I were “church planters,” I was a call center operator, and Becky was an elementary school teacher. The next couple times we were “church planters,” I was a project manager in a medical imaging R&D group, and Becky was a stay-at-home mom, then a tutor.
I could bore you with stats (and I’m happy to do so, if you’re interested), but if you’ve ever been to a young, healthy church plant, then you already know that there is nothing like it on the planet when it comes to sharing the hope of Jesus with the local community. I assure you, that sensation, that reality is universal. The joy of knowing that we have hope in Jesus is seen and heard clearly in communities around the globe where church planters are starting new faith communities. Personally, I have seen this in the U.S.A., Mexico, Ecuador, Brazil, Peru, Colombia, Bolivia, and Israel. I’ve heard stories from various regions of Asia, Africa, Western Europe, Australia, the Middle East, and everywhere.
The sun doesn’t set on church planting, and the effectiveness and vibrancy of church planting is only partly because of the church planter, the person or couple who God called to start the new community of faith. The secret sauce for many church plants is the collected group of people who throw their lot in with that person or couple. It is the construction workers, nurses, Uber drivers, teachers, students, and yes, call center operators who fuel the success of a new church.
They are the volunteers who are the hands and feet of Jesus in their neighborhoods, at the church’s doors, and with the church’s children. They are the artists who craft the praise-filled environments that energize the church for the great commission and respond to the glory of God. They are the first people to give faithfully and sacrificially to see their neighbors, their brothers and sisters, and their friends experience a relationship with a savior who is inviting us to follow Him over and over again. They are the ones who know that perseverance and hard work build character, character builds hope, and hope engenders joy. They are church planters.
No discussion of Hope Experts is complete without the acknowledgement that you don’t have to be a “church planter” to be a church planter. I love what Paul says in Philippians 3. “Stick with me, friends. Keep track of those you see running this same course, headed for this same goal (The Message).” Generally, I follow up this quote with the question, “Who are you on this race with?” but it occurs to me that for many of us, an appropriate question is, “Who could you be on this race with?”
If church planting is the most effective way to share the hope of Jesus Christ with the world, how can you get plugged into it? You’re a hope expert. How can you best share that hope?
Here are some thoughts:
1. “Give it a year.” All over the world, new churches are launching. Yes, even now (especially now) when in-person gatherings are impossible. Find one (or ask us, and we’ll see if we can help) and commit to going all-in with them for a year. At the end of that year, you can return to your current church knowing that your investment of time, talent, and treasure made a radical impact on the community. Perhaps you’ll be like me, and that year will turn into a life-long passion, a radical change of job trajectory, and the repeated joy of seeing communities impacted in powerful ways by a new church loving like Jesus did.
2. Invest in church planting. You may be in a position, location, or season where giving a year to a local church plant feels impossible. I get that. If that is the case, I would urge you to invest. Your investment will create an eternal legacy of hope. It will lead to healed marriages, rescue from addiction, renewed purpose, and most importantly new relationships with Jesus.
3. Tell all your friends. Whether you give a year to church planting, invest in church planting, or simply commit to praying for church planters and church planting movements, you can help grow awareness. Every person on Earth has a platform. If you are reading this, you have an Internet connection. You likely use social media. You very likely have relationships with people who envision a poinsettia on stage from the church they grew up in when you say, “church plant.” Share what you know: the church is made up of Hope Experts intent on sharing their expertise with the world, and church plants (not poinsettias) are the most effective way to do that.
Then suggest they give it a year and invest.
Since 2003, Matt has been involved as a volunteer leader and/or staff member in the early stages of four church plants. Two of these churches benefited from Stadia, so he has experienced first-hand how partnering with Stadia benefits churches. Matt has his MBA and has worked in project management in the medical research and development field. Previously Matt has served Stadia as the Director of Global Church Planting and Operations Executive. His passion is to maximize church planting through leadership and bringing clarity to the leaders he serves.