Confessions of A Church Planter

ypsilanti-foundation-buildingEvery time I talk with someone about +The Antioch Movement these are the questions that inevitably get asked in the first three minutes:

  • Do you have a building?
  • How many people are coming?

These are really good questions because they show that the person cares deeply about me and wants me to be successful. I am grateful that I have so many people in my life that care for and love me.

The hard part is that these are two gauges of success that we are not using. They create a pressure to become something, that in my opinion, is not biblical.

What do I mean? I mean that the Scriptures do not give us a scorecard of success that is based on buildings and numbers.  Success is determined by faithfulness to the invitation and commission of Jesus. I am convinced that if we are faithful to following Jesus and proclaiming his excellencies that everything else will take care of itself.

The danger for me is not to caught up in the question or to take my cues about success from the question. There is a vortex in the church planting world, not all that different from high school, of comparison. All church planters want to be considered successful. There are some church plants that look successful because they are a campus of a larger church. Some look successful because they are cool and draw people from existing churches.

Then there are the church plants that take a long time to grow because they are not attractive to existing Christians. They are more concerned about embodying the gospel Monday through Saturday in the lives of lost people than they are with numbers on Sunday morning.

I shared our strategic approach with some missionaries who serve in Albania. They got really excited but cautioned us, “This approach will not work with Christians, it is most useful in reaching people far from God.”  This simple sentence has been a source of fuel for me over the last number of weeks.

The Antioch Movement will be successful if the handful of Christians that are starting it multiply their lives in groups within their spheres of influence. We will be successful if we send laborers to launch other movements in other towns.

We will be successful is we remain faithful.

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