What if every church thought like a church plant?
This thought kept echoing through my mind last month (as it often has) as LuAnn and I attended Exponential 2013. I keep wondering what it is that changes as a church moves from being a church plant to an established church…
In reality, every church is a church plant. Unfortunately, some of us older church plants have forgotten. We’ve sometimes lost the intensity and clarity of focus we once had.
But it doesn’t have to happen. We don’t have to get mired in slavery to “what we do” at the expense of “why we’re here.” If we want to, we can participate in the shifts that will help us make disciples more effectively and faithfully.
Exponential put together a really helpful conference, and I found that, while the focus was obviously on planting new churches, the message of the conference is one that us old church plants need to hear, too. And that message is that we need to be more focused on making disciples. There are a lot of things that happen in the life of any church that can cause us to drift from that clarion call of Jesus. And when we do that, when we lose His vision for lives that are transformed and transforming, we lose the heartbeat of what we’re supposed to be all about in the first place.
Wherever you serve, whatever your church’s story or background, it’s a church plant – Placed and planted by God in your particular context in time and space in order to share His light in the darkness and make disciples there. Somewhere along the way, we stop thinking like a church plant and drift into an ‘established’ mentality that often is not helpful in being disciple makers.
The solution is shift – and it only happens on purpose. Unless you determine to make disciples, you won’t. Unless you decide that making disciples is the priority of your life and of your church, it won’t be.
Whether you’re planting a brand new church or working in an existing one, I hope you’ll join me in some shifting. And if you’ve just been a fan, “going to church,” I hope you’ll stop going and join Christ’s Body in the work we have to do. The potential that lies dormant in the church needs to awaken. The world is crying out to be made whole and we need to show the Way.
Let’s go make disciples!
I’ve outlined each of the shifts presented at Exponential 2013 in the following posts, but if you want to get a firsthand look for yourself, check out the very first Exponential West in October in southern CA or look into some of the free ebooks available on Exponential’s site.
“Exponential Shifts Toward Discipleship” Series