Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Things They Tell Church Planters That Are Simply Wrong

...aka, "Open Letter to the Growthinistas, Pt. 1.875."

One of the things that I believe strongly in is reading/listening to dudes I don't already agree with.  I like reading fellow Calvary pastors' stuff - and I do.  But I need to read the stuff from other streams that I'm not directly a part of, for two major reasons:
  1. To fight the natural tendency towards provincialization in thinking that happens when one drinks from his own bathwater, intellectually speaking, and, close on the heels of the first reason:
  2. To be challenged in my thinking. I already agree with myself; because it's simple human nature to have blind spots in our thinking, and by definition we can't see our own blind spots, it's a great habit to get into to read/listen to/interact with as broad a range of thinking as possible to constantly challenge your presuppositions, and hopefully thereby identify and deal with those blindspots.

Being that I'm no friend of Emergent, I specifically choose to read as much of their stuff as possible (by the way - not for the purpose of proving them wrong; if that's the motive, stop; you're not thinking, you're reacting - and besides, the ECM is hugely self-defeating anyway), and one of the ECM sources I like to read is the Next-Wave e-zine.

Next-Wave is a great resource; it's a mostly-regular online publication where ECMmers contribute mercifully short articles on subjects near and dear to the Emergent heart.  (I say "mercifully short" because, due to the inherent limitations of articular writing, they're largely forced to actually focus their thoughts, eschewing their habitual obfuscatory grandiloquence, and for the most part restricting their wonted overuse of bromidic ECM catchphrases like missio dei, neo-monastic, and incarnational...zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz...)  I try to read it whenever it's updated; in doing so, I have shaken my head in mystified disbelief more than once, chuckled at the apparently not-obvious-to-them pretentiousness of it all just about every time...and been deeply challenged on more than a few occasions.

I have also read stuff that I have, to my deep and abiding shock, been 100% in agreement with.

Honestly...didn't see that one coming.

It turns out, however, that many ECMmers actually have some good stuff to say; some of it is even marginally orthodox.  You can imagine my surprise.

This month's issue deals with "Church Pirates" - you know, the kind that Ed Young knows and loves.

...or, wishes he didn't know and doesn't love too much.

...or...whatever.

But tucked away in this month's missive (and I haven't read all of it yet) is a gem of an article by a Vineyard church planter, titled Things They Tell Church Planters That Are Simply Wrong.  It is, incidentally, simply right.

He comments on some of the things he's heard as a church planter that have proven to be out-of-kilter with what is truly true.  Things like:

  • It's all about Sunday (hint: no it's not)
  • If it's not working, your signage or location is wrong
  • What counts is attendance, baptism and signups for membership class (hint: Jesus leaves the ninety-and-nine to minister to the one - what about that, eh?)
  • For the first two years, work as hard as you can without burning out
  • The goal of every pastor should be to be full-time paid (wouldn't that be nice... ;D )
  • Some people are just scaffolding people
  • Gather a crowd first, figure out who the disciples are later

This is a stunningly good article by a brother I probably wouldn't agree with much on...but who apparently loves Jesus and "gets it" when it comes to a true Kingdom (not kingdom-building) viewpoint.

I give it eleven thumbs up.

2 comments:

Pat said...

Hey there Mike -

I'm glad you ran across this article and found it helpful! And I'm even more complemented by the fact that my love of Jesus and residence and service to the Kingdom of God shines through that story. And hopefully I fit into the 'marginally orthodox' category too :)

Grace and peace in Christ,
Pat

mike macon said...

It really was a great article - dovetails very nicely with some of the things I've been saying myself over the last year or so.