The vision of our team is primarily to raise up godly leaders, church leaders to see a multiplication of disciple making churches throughout southern Africa into the world.
Karl Teichert tells the story of how OC International is training church planters in Madagascar.
I often get asked, “How many church plants survive?”
It’s the wrong question.
I remember being a first-time church planter. I understand the angst. You hope for more, but you fear failure. It’s only natural. So sooner or later God has to go to work on our mixed motivations. Painful, but better than living with a desperate need to succeed.
In our second church plant, I learned that God has other agendas than just the survival of one church plant. After two years, we closed it down to the glory of God.
Later I became a coach of church planters. I soon learned that when it comes to success or failure in planting congregational churches, selecting the right planters was everything. Get the selection right and the rate of survival improves dramatically.
Still the wrong question.
Here are the questions you could be asking:
- How many people, who are far from God will hear the gospel today?
- How many believers can you train to connect, share, and disciple others?
- How many new disciples can you form into groups that become churches?
- How many new churches can you equip to reproduce disciples and churches?
- How many disciples have children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren in the faith?
Answer these questions correctly and you can stop worrying about the survival of one church plant, and focus on the growth of a movement.
Jeff Sundell just sent me this photo of a front yard baptism of a new believer. It's driving me nuts because he didn't tell me the story behind it. On the other hand if you look at the image long enough it will tell its own story.
We spend far too much time talking about abstract concepts of "mission." Jesus came looking for lost people.
What matters is that we connect with people in their world, share the gospel, make disciples who learn to obey Jesus, and form communities that quickly reproduce, without our direction and control.
Neil Perry (red shirt with the camera) has done a great job of planting a growing church in his community. But that wasn't enough. So now he and anyone he can corrupt are out in the community meeting people, sharing, discipling and gathering.
Neil doesn't want to just plant a church, he wants to multiply disciples and communities.
I don't care about his "model of ministry". What matters is that people who are far from God are coming to know Jesus, and are learning to follow him and reach their world.
I can't emphasise this enough—follow the stories. Keep reading the Gospels and Acts and ask "What did Jesus do (Gospels) what did the Risen Lord continue to do (Acts). Start learning from people like Neil who can tell you fresh stories of lives changed.