I have heard people talk before about a pervasive Western superiority mindset that exists here in the states; particularly among capitalists and evangelical conservatives. But the more we talk about the purposes and goals of plant MIDWEST, the more I believe that there is something to this. Guys we have a serious problem when it comes to our idea of what success is.
Isn’t it interesting, isn’t it crazy that when we examine and glorify church planting movements in different places throughout the world, we find out that these movement have been led by for the very most part, men and women who were farmers, fisherman, small business persons, etc. These movements have not and are not being led by seminary trained, fully funded, professional clergyman. Movements, empowered by the Spirit of God, are being orchestrated through everyday people, i.e. “bi-vocational” ministers of the Gospel of Jesus.
Jim Slack, a noted missiologist and statistician from the International Mission Board of the SBC, a brother highly respected by many, including the US Center For World Missions has said on more than one occasion that the idea of having enough money to start all the churches needed to reach North American cities is simply unrealistic. Ed Stetzer said two years ago at Exponential, the largest church planting conference in the US, that we simply “cannot fund a church planting movement.”
Success in church planting is working hard at obeying what God has called you to do and leaving the results to Him. It’s our own pride that causes to define success by how many people come to our gatherings and how much money is in the offering.
plantMIDWEST is about building a team of missionaries who will plant churches in a variety of different contexts and strategies. Some of these churches will meet in large gymnasiums in suburb schools, some in great sanctuary spaces in church buildings, some in the warmth of a home living room. They will be CHURCHES, places where people gather; some to worship God and some to explore the claims of Christ while noticing how followers of Christ “love one another.”
So why do we think that we are any different? Why do we think that a church planting movement here in the states, here in the Midwest is going to be accomplished by guys planting churches that grow to the hundreds or thousands. Some will, and praise God for it. But that’s not how a movement is going to begin and multiply. My take is that it will happen here in America just like it has happened everywhere else in the world; through a rapid multiplication of church “births” led by everyday people. May God save us from our pride, perhaps from our Western superiority thinking.