April 23, 2009

A Commitment To The Kingdom, Not The Church

This week I was able to visit the Greenville, SC area for a pre-project visit connected to a mission trip I'm taking a small group of students on in June. While there I was able to visit over half a dozen church plants in the area. What I saw in these church planters & the local denominational leaders was refreshing. I actually saw a commitment to the Kingdom of God & not to their particular church(s). I saw church planters that are doing ministry so out of the box that there really isn't even a box in their general vicinity, yet they're impacting their communities & some of these plants don't even meet for worship regularly...yet.

All the while I couldn't help but think of the areas I have lived in. Would those area embrace such a movement the way it's seemingly embraced in South Carolina? My own limited experience says, "No". I know planters who have tried to start in those areas, & they can't get traction because they can get zero support from the local churches that are already established. And anybody who has ever started a church from scratch will tell you that it helps if you have plenty of support from other churches & church leaders. However, in many places church planters are viewed as competition to the establishment, even if the establishment has long since ceased to be a force in the community. First of all we're not competing against each other; we're competing against everything else that could keep someone from connecting to God & His people. And even if we were competing, it wouldn't be much of a competition because many of us in the establishment got out of the game a long time ago.

I have a huge heart for church planters. They have huge faith & vision. Above all though, they have a commitment to growing God's Kingdom not merely growing their own.

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