Why Reproducing is Mission Critical2
It wasn't all that long ago...Not a galaxy far far away...but in a school gymnasium (not so) far, far away...
I remember the early days of planting. I am not exaggerating when I say that in the earliest days of a plant that everything has to go right (which never happens) or else everything seems to go wrong (which is part of the goofiness of an early plant).
In those earliest days we had one person preaching, one worship leader who also doubled as the set-up-guy/sound-guy/box-truck-driver/web-designer/secretary/part-time-barista/bible-school-student...
And if someone got sick or didn't show or just flaked out or any of the other odd things that seems to happen to people in the early days of a church plant, then the person preaching or the worship leader would have to figure out how to creatively cram another job or two into their "ministry".
Add to that, even if everything goes right, in the earliest stages....well...it's just not that good. I know that these words would be stunning to the bravado of most church planters, but I'm gonna let you in on a little surprise: the 14 people meeting in my living room while we tried to have some sort of children's ministry for kids aged 3 mo's to 10 yrs in the back room of our winter rental, and our services were high on vision and fellowship but low on content...
Those services were just not that good.
People would ask questions like, "Who's preaching?" and make their decision on whether to come or not based off of the person they perceived to be "the guy" was preaching or not. So, if "the guy" needed a break, our budding new congregation of 14 peeps was gonna be a bit on the light side. Looks like worship leader is gonna be running nursury today. Ha.
I'd love to say that these words are an exaggeration. Or overstated. Nope. That was the first year or so of church planting and still lingered for quite a bit longer.
That's why this morning is blowing my mind!
We are planting a church. The man planting the church married a woman who was a part of my youth ministry 14 years ago. The man who is leading worship was in a children's Sunday school class that my wife and I led since he was about 8 years old.
Fast forward a decade or so...
That young lady who was a part of our youth ministry married an incredible young man of God who had(has) aspirations to change the world. They got some education (formal). Graduated from the school of hard knocks (informal) and went back for a grad degree. That boy from our youth ministry is a man now, and he also got an education but chose to stick around and be discipled from his local church.
So, this morning as everyone is getting ready for our worship service, things have changed a bit since those days of the Dirty Dozen meeting in the living room. We are in the process of planting another church. The young man who helped plant the first church is now moving along to join the crazy mission of doing it all over again.
He got trained up. He set his mind to be a disciple and to make disciples. In the process, he took that other young man (formally the 8 yr old in our kid's ministry class) and encouraged him to learn guitar to go with the voice that God gave him.
And that leads us to this morning and some of the things that I can't help but celebrate:
- The "do everything" guy from the first plant is planting a church
- Their service meets tonight and is getting ready to launch Sunday morning services and two new community groups
- That guy is preaching today. And instead of people asking "who's preaching" we now have an embarrassment of preachers available. The problem has shifted from "who is going to preach" to "how do we make time for all of the teachers God is raising up?"
- The young man who was learning to play guitar is leading worship this morning
- Oh, and did I mention that the guy who grew up under the youth ministry is now a pastor in training leading the youth AND is transitioning to be our full time worship leader as we send off our worship leader to plant a church.
- They are having the Youth Group Worship team (the next gen of worship leaders, leading in the here-and-now) lead us in worship. AND IT SOUNDS GREAT!
- And later on today, one of our new pastors in training is going to be preaching over at the church plant since Daniel is preaching at the mother church (Redeemer TR)
And something about that is just beautiful. No "one-man" is all that important. A bunch of reproducible parts. The only part that is irreplacable is KING JESUS and He already promised that He would be with us until the end of the age (Matthew 28:18-20)
None of this could happen without reproducing. And reproducing does not happen without intentionality.
The people that we love the most are being discipled, raised up, and sent out. A new crop is being trained up, raised up and using their gifts. The disciples have become disciple makers. Now its time to send them out to do it again.
The mission continues....
And something about it just feels right!