Is it possible to plant simple and thriving churches in America? By thriving, I’m referring to planting church-planting churches. Our measuring stick is not how many buildings we can build, or how many people we can convince to come to one location. Rather, it is how many disciples can we make and send out to new communities to reach people with the gospel ‘where they live.’
We must ReThink many things about church. We must re-evaluate and re-calibrate our thinking and paradigm of what is, and is not, a church. If we stay bound to the inflated building programs and ‘me first’ in-reach focus of modern ecclesiology, we will lose another generation to the spirit of this age. We are called…to Go…to Make disciples…to Baptize them…to Teach them! (Matt. 28:19-20) And in all of this we must ‘know’ that Jesus is with us throughout the journey! The real question is do we have enough faith to believe the Holy Spirit is big enough and sufficient enough to enable us to obey the great commission?
The men in the photo of this article are some of the church planters I train. They have gone into previously unreached rural areas of India and planted 46 churches in the past 18 months, seeing over 4,700 men and women surrender to Jesus as Lord and Savior. (And the remarkable thing is that in our investment of finances we have planted these churches for under $200 each–that is correct, less than $200 each.) But it doesn’t stop there. We are trusting the Lord for 677 more villages in this region God has called us to. To accomplish this, we must see the Lord raise up more laborers into the harvest. (Luke 10:2) AND HE WILL!
But what about America? The land of the free and the home of the brave. Can God do it here? Does He want to do it here? Will we trust Him to do it here and allow the Holy Spirit to be the driving force and enabler of the task? The call is too big, too daunting, too mammoth for the strength of the flesh and the efforts of micromanaged programs. Let us turn the Holy Spirit loose in our own lives and begin crying out for boldness to take the first step into the simple waters of church planting.
The younger generation is catching a glimpse of the vision…they refuse to continue church as usual…they are looking to the book of Acts and the New Testament as the simple pattern for planting churches. And God is hearing their cry! They refuse to settle for anything less than a Spirit-empowered and Great Commission fulfilling life.
Their zeal will help keep us older men young, and our experience can help keep them from burning out or getting off track into foolishness. Both generations gleaning from one another…not in competition, but in interdependence.
Can we do it in America? Yes, by God’s leadership and through His strength!