Thursday, June 08, 2006

Church Planters of All Shapes & Sizes

Yesterday Geoff and I visited with Dennis Mitchell in the Church Planting Group at the North American Mission Board. It was good to get his affirmation of Mission M Possible and even better to get his insight on church planting. As we talked, a topic came up that is dear to my heart: can we mobilize people for church planting who don't fit the profile? That is, can we train computer geeks to be computer geeks for the cause of church planting? Can we mobilize compassionate people to encourage church planters? Can people without all 13 characteristics of church planters play a role in the process? Or do all our church planters have to be up-front leaders and pastors?

I have a 12-year old son who would much rather build a website than preach a sermon. He's not like me in that respect. But my hope is that he will be able to utilize his gifts in church planting, especially since he can do things that I cannot do. There is a lady in my church, Katie, who wants to plug into ministry but lives an hour away from the rest of us and travels all week for business. I asked her what part of her job she really loves, and she responded "I love mentoring and encouraging younger women!" So I asked her: "if I gave you a list of church planter's wives in the cities you travel to each week, could you arrange to meet them for coffee and prayer, just to encourage them?" Katie was delighted to discover that God could use her gifts in such a meaningful way. I guess you could say Katie will be our church's first Kinetic Church Planting missionary!

Anyway, my point in all this is that we need lots of different people in church planting. Let's look beyond the stereotypes and discover how to engage all people in the work of redemption. Since God has gifted every person differently, won't our work in church planting be far more diverse and effective if we utilize a multiplicity of gifts? Here is a little exercise: ask your teenagers, your family or congregation what they really love to do. Then brainstorm together about how they could utilize that to help in church planting. Let us know how it goes!


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