Monday, June 12, 2006

Students Speaking the Language of Church Planting

I’m writing from Nashville, Tennessee, tonight. No … unlike almost everyone else in Southern Baptist life, I am not at the Southern Baptist Convention in Greensboro. I have never been to a Southern Baptist Convention meeting in my 17+ years of ministry. Let’s face it … most people who are involved in student ministry in any capacity whatsoever rarely, if ever, attend a SBC meeting. We are always at a camp, or on a mission trip, or a canoeing trip, or at Six Flags over somewhere.

So, here I am again. This week I am in Nashville serving as the Church Planting trainer at a PowerPlant (NAMB) project. We have about 160 participants at this week’s camp. PowerPlant is an awesome week-long mission camp. It’s very similar to World Changers, but without the construction. Instead, students are trained in the basics of Church Planting, and then sent out in the community to get involved in local church planting efforts. I have been privileged to be a part of PowerPlant since its launch in 2003, when I led the project in Cornwall, Ontario. Roger Ferrell, my partner in Mission M Possible (and the other contributor on this blog), led the other pilot project in Atlanta, Georgia, that same year. In fact, PowerPlant was a dream that was born in Roger’s heart many years ago and developed after he shared the idea with an associate at Student Volunteers at NAMB. We have each had the opportunity to write materials for PowerPlant, lead projects (10 between the two of us), and train over a thousand students in the basics of Church Planting.

This morning, I had one of the most awesome moments ever during our Church Planting training time. I had just spend the first two days helping the participants understand some new ideas regarding church (what a church looks like, what it can look like, what a church really is). Then, this morning, I placed them into “Church Planting Teams” to begin thinking about the possibility of planting a new church in their hometown. I encouraged them to think about people who are not being reached by any church. Now, stick with me, here’s the cool part. As I wandered around the room, eavesdropping on their conversations and prayers, I heard over and over again words and phrases like, “culture,” “unchurched,” “creativity,” and “people group.”

It almost brought me to tears! In years past it seemed to take a little longer to break down the barriers of years of cultural church “programming.” But it seems like this group “got it” on the first day. They are already thinking and speaking missionally. They are already sold on the idea of and need for church planting. In their hearts and minds, they are already partners in this ministry of church planting. Clearly, God is at work in this next generation of church planters. He has already prepared the way.

We have to join this movement with Him. We have to educate, train, and mobilize this next generation of Church Planters. We have to mentor them and connect them with Church Planting tasks and opportunities. We have to help them discover and nurture the call of God in their lives to be Church Planters. And that is the purpose and passion of Mission M Possible. We would love for you to join us in this mission … your mission … should you choose to accept it…


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