During our process of exploring church planting, Jaclyn and I found out we were pregnant with our second child. It was a bit unexpected, but we would soon see how God was using this pregnancy to strengthen us and expand our faith. As a reminder, we named our second daughter Sarah Faith. Having a baby and planting a church are a lot alike. Each are wrapped in all sorts of emotions, like joy and fear, there is a lengthy season of preparation, a more intense time of labor and delivery, and then there’s a new baby, or church, that needs to be nurtured, developed, and matured.
One of the things apparent to me throughout the process of having children is that women are not meant to do it alone. God designed us to have a mother and father, and to be birthed in the context of mutual partnership and submission to one another. In addition there are numerous support systems like doctors, nurses, midwives, ultrasound technicians, labor coaches, and the support of family and friends that make up the full support arsenal that contributes to birthing a new child.
I personally had the honor of serving Jaclyn throughout her labor and deliveries. I wanted to be intimately involved. I wasn’t happy with the typical stereotype of the man uninvolved, cowering in confusion in the corner. So, this meant a partnership in labor (maintaining an environment of peace, drawing baths, giving various massages and counter pressure techniques, reading scripture, etc.), and even assisting the midwives when nurses weren’t able to get there on time, though I didn’t sign up for that one ;)… By no means am I taking any credit for the success of our deliveries, Jaclyn is the real rock-star, she’s the one that delivered with no medication or drugs of any kind (except Benadryl); but, I also know she wouldn’t have been able to do it on her own. The intimate partnership between us, and the assistance of many others, helped make our deliveries beautiful. Now, I know not everyone is as fortunate as we are in regards to our labor and delivery stories, but what remains true is having a baby is not meant to be done alone. Having a baby is both a family and community endeavor.
Just like having a baby, building the church is to be done in the context of mutual partnership and submission with the family of God. It’s not to be left up to some lone ranger superhero pastors who scored high as entrepreneurs and risk takers on a church planting assessment.
Partnering In Compassion
Planting churches and making disciples is a work of compassion that the whole church is charged with. It’s something deep within our DNA as followers of Jesus. I am grateful for Pastor Bob Novak, who recently charged our church with the following:
If you are devoted follower of Jesus there is something in your DNA that needs to be let out. We are best when we let that out!! Church is never effective when huddled in a holy silo. We were made to go. When churches don't go, we die… Go works because of the power of the kingdom DNA locked within every devoted follower of Jesus. When it is loosed it thrives, when hoarded it dies.
Churches that lose the heart of the Kingdom to "go" will stop reproducing themselves (the essence of parenting), and die. But churches that “go” beyond themselves and live in compassion will thrive as they reproduce divine DNA put within us by our creator. John 17:18 says:
As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world.
Just as Jesus was sent, we are now sent into our communities, families, and places of influence to do good works (Titus 3:14) and proclaim the gospel of Jesus. As part of a local body of disciples (aka the church), we each do our part as missionaries, incarnating the gospel in our communities and neighborhoods. As that work takes root, especially in communities that don’t yet have a regular proclamation and demonstration of the gospel, new churches are formed. Being Jesus in our neighborhoods and places of influence, and forming new communities of faith, is the number one way to “go” as Jesus commanded us. Missiologist Peter Wagner wrote:
Planting new churches is the most effective evangelistic methodology known under heaven.
Just like having a baby, this is a family and community endeavor. This is fundamental to who we are as the church. Thus, we are grateful to officially begin our partnership with Life Christian Fellowship in their compassion initiative to GO, which includes the following goals:
- We will create and optimize “connect environments” from the parking lot to Life Together.
- We will reach into our community…students…seniors…recovery community…”the least of these.”
- We will expand our borders by planting three churches in the next five years.
Just like having a baby and raising a child requires the work of parents, we are blessed to come under LCF as our parent church. We’ll establish roots, worship, serve, and do life alongside the LCF family. If you’d like more information on what that looks like structurally, click here, or watch this video: