More of Less for Church Planters: Part 1

Silence. Solitude. Meditation. Fasting. Simplicity.
These are as strange and alien concepts to the life of Christians in the West. At best such practices feel odd, optional or only for super-Christians. Or worse, they could be construed as punitive.

However our historic Christian faith grew in grace and power as everyday believers and leaders practiced spiritual disciplines. On purpose. With astonishing results.

Check Out Spiritual Disciplines
When I started in ministry as a 23-year-old Jr Hi Pastor just off the road with a Christian band, voice mail and pagers were cutting edge. We communicated only via phone and paper. As a church planter, we have social media, mobile phones and the internet that invades every spare corner of our lives.

My first boss in ministry encouraged me to read Richard Foster’s Celebration of Discipline and made me go on monthly prayer retreats. I did not like it at first. Now as a church planter, I am so glad someone showed me how and why spiritual disciplines are vital for ministry. It was not easy for me to do.

It showed me ministry is impossible to do. For me. I need Jesus to do it through me. In fact, Jesus said in  John 14:12-14 that we would do greater works than He did. By asking Him to do what He can do through us.

Disciplines are inconvenient, frustrating and seem counter-productive. But we managed to get ministry accomplished before cell phones, iPads and Wi-Fi. Apparently, even Jesus and the church ministered pretty well focusing on prayer, discipleship and a simple life.

It leads to this leading question: what kind of boundaries (if any) do you have now between the urgency of everything on your phone or tablet or laptop and your relationship with Christ? I fear our little space for Jesus makes me/us a mile wide and an inch deep. I’ll even say it may make us hypocrites on par with Pharisees.

Expect More of Less to be Normal?
A pastor friend of mine recently posted the following:

(Name) is going off the grid for a week for a silent retreat. Yup. No cell, not FB, no Angry Birds, no TV to numb or distract me. No agenda, not planning, no strategizing- just a whole week to meet with Jesus. I’ll either go completely crazy or meet Jesus. We’ll see.

I applaud his decision! And I say more of less! More of less should be normal. And not drive you crazy.

 

Jim Moon, Jr. serves CMM (Church Multiplication Ministries) as Coaching Catalyst and is Founding Pastor of Crosspoint Encuentro Church in Smyrna GA.

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Why Church Plant? Why Start New Churches?

In Atlanta, I help lead a Church Planting Network (or CPN) that meets monthly with men who are starting new churches to encourage, train, coach and pray together. This past Tuesday, I posed this question to our church planters, ‘Why do we start new churches?’ To which I got a few snarky answers, ‘To build my kingdom.’ and ‘Because we’ll do it right.’ and ‘Because God doesn’t have spiritual grandchildren.’

After the laughter died down, we dove into the ‘spiritual grandchildren’ remark (nobody gets into heaven because of their parents or grandparents faith) which turned the corner on this basic motivation: more people need to hear about Jesus and His awesome work of salvation.

That is the reason we plant churches. So more people will hear about Jesus.

It’s our experience that unchurched people tend to visit new churches more readily than established churches. In the first two years of our church plant over 1,200 visitors attend one or more worship services and filled out a response card. And each one heard the gospel.

The USA has the third largest number of unchurched people in the world. Fact check it. So that means I live in the third largest mission field. In the world.

Justin Taylor posted this info filled blog about actual church attendance. What about where you live? What percentage of people do you think actually go to church? (I realize church attendance does not equal evangelism but they are related.)

C.S. Lewis puts the significance of evangelism in perspective for me so well:

It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest most uninteresting person you talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship, or else a horror and a corruption such as you now meet, if at all, only in a nightmare.

All day long we are, in some degree helping each other to one or the other of these destinations. It is in the light of these overwhelming possibilities, it is with the awe and the circumspection proper to them, that we should conduct all of our dealings with one another, all friendships, all loves, all play, all politics. There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. nations, cultures, arts, civilizations – These are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit – immortal horrors or everlasting splendors.”

― The Weight of Glory

There are no ordinary people. No mere mortals. Everlasting souls are at stake. That is why we church plant.

First post

I’m a Gospel Coach for Church Planters, Pastors and Ministry Leaders asking Jesus to multiply more Gospel Coaches to reach the lost in North and South America.

We planted a transcultural, bi-lingual church in the Atlanta area and pray for God to give us opportunity to help reproduce in other churches, networks and denominations. I’m a recovering work-aholic. Without the help of a Gospel Coach and a Church Planter Network, I would have flamed out in ministry and sacrificed my family in the process.

I’ve made a lot of mistakes but I’m learning to be Holy Spirit-dependent, Christ-centered and to live in gospel-saturated community.

My wife Elizabeth and I have three grown children and are overjoyed that they love Jesus and serve in other church planting churches despite growing up as church planters’ kids. That ought to be the new normal.