Movement Principles

016-Sparking CPMs: 1. Head

Sowing Rice

I caught up with Barney via skype recently and talked to him about the qualities required to spark church planting movements.

He gave me four that he looks for:

  1. Head: Knowing
  2. Heart: Being
  3. Hands: Doing
  4. House: Relating

In this podcast he introduces the first one—Head: Knowing.

We'll work our way through the other three over the next few weeks.

The notes for 1. Head: Knowing.

First principle

Sean makes an important point—we cannot expect "results" just because we apply certain principles.

I've been in the book of Acts for at least a year now. Here's the heart of what I'm learning—mission is not about us. It's about the continuing ministry of the Risen Lord.

Luke is the only Gospel writer who also wrote an account of the spread of the gospel through Jesus’ first followers. Luke's Gospel prepares the way for the book of Acts. They are two parts of the one story and Jesus is the central figure in both.

Jesus’ ministry did not end with his death, resurrection and ascension. He did not hand his ministry over to his followers and leave them to continue on alone. Jesus is alive and continues to minister through the disciples after his death and resurrection.

What Yahweh was to Israel in the Old Testament, Jesus is to the church in the book of Acts. The Risen Lord is on center stage as Luke tells the story of early Christian mission.

Jesus is alive and leads his followers as the gospel spreads from Jerusalem to the ends of the world. He commands them to go. He sends his Spirit to empower them for witness (Acts 1:8; 2:33). He inspires their preaching (7:55-56). He brings people to faith. New disciples are baptised in his name.

He calls and commissions his witnesses (9:5-6; 22:14-21). His disciples operate by his power, and not their own authority (3:6). He leads them into new missionary challenges (10:13-15; 11:20-21, 24). He confirms their preaching with miracles performed in his name (9:34; 14:3). When they are persecuted, he comes to them and encourages and protects them (18:9-10; 23:11; cf. 22:17-21).

His followers, empowered by the Spirit proclaim his word, and the result is an expanding movement of new disciples and churches.

So what's our role? We live and minister as though Jesus is alive, and despite the obstacles, we expect his word to grow, and spread, and multiply all over the world, and as it does, new disciples are made and new churches are formed.

The wisdom of experience

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Peter Roennfeldt has been planting churches for longer than I can remember. He has children, grand children and great grand children all over the globe.

Recently he and his wife Judy returned to Papua New Guinea where it all began. They visited the fourteen churches they planted in the capital Port Moresby before leaving in 1979. They met believers from other churches they planted around the country.

Here are Peter's refections on the lessons of the last thirty years.

What you plant is what you reap. In the 1970s we planted churches – rather than churches that multiply. The result is that most the churches planted then have gotten bigger, but the priority has not been on multiplication!

Plant churches that multiply. If I were to have my time over again – I would cultivate the principles of multiplication into the DNA of every church plant! It is exciting to see the growth – but, it could be even greater!

You can never envisage the impact of a church plant. Thirty years ago it was not possible to envisage the growth of these churches – over 10,000 believers today!

Invest in future leaders. In those years many church plants were focused upon reaching and involving university students and future country leaders – and this has resulted in new churches all over the country.

Be proactive. Those fourteen new churches in Port Moresby would not have been planted without the efforts of dedicated teams of members and planted – but there should be hundreds!

Denominations do not plant churches – local churches, members and pastors do. Denominations that do not affirm people, empowering and releasing them, will never reach their potential. Micromanagement and control are not environments of growth, reproduction and multiplication.  

Movements move

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Jesus always on the move. You read the gospels and Jesus is always going somewhere. He's always meeting new people. He's visiting new towns. He covers the nation in just a few years.

In his three year public ministry, Jesus could have easily visited the 175 towns and villages throughout Galilee. It would have been difficult to find any of the 200,000 people of Galilee who had not encountered Jesus in some way. Most of the half million Judeans would have heard of him including many of the 100,000 inhabitants of Jerusalem (see Schnabel)

Get to the book of Acts and the pace picks up. Now there are disciples following Jesus' example heading off in all directions. If they try and settle down, along comes persecution and they keep moving. Every now and again they circle back to strengthen the disciples they've made along the way.

Movements move. They don't stay in one place. They're restless and relentless. There's urgency and there's movement.

So where did our settled models of ministry come from? Maybe it's a traditional parish system—with bishops. Maybe a house church. Even a mega/multisite church. A seminary.

Movement leaders move. Ask Patrick, and Xavier and Carey and Wesley or the Booths. Settling down is not on the agenda. Unless you happen to be in jail.