I was in a great conversation with some friends the other day talking about The Antioch Movement. One of them asked me, “So you’re the lead church planter?” I responded, “Lead movement launcher.”
The next question was money, “Why not a church?”
So if you’re planting a church the end goal is to have, well, a church. A building or something, the focus becomes the Sunday gathering. We are going to try and build a movement that is reproducible and sustainable. The end goal is not the Sunday gathering, but to launch movements into the fourth generation and beyond. The “church” is a means for the expansion of the kingdom and not an end in itself.
Everything we are going to do will be toward that end. So, I am not a “pastor” or “planter” but a “trainer” of “trainers”, if you will, and, at the beginning, a “launcher”.
A quality response was forthcoming, “But the Bible has words for that, church and pastor. Why not use those words instead of movement and trainer?”
Fair enough. However, sometimes words lose their meaning. I think they have. When people talk of “church” they think of a building. That is not church. Pastor, is only one of the offices laid out in Ephesians 4, apostle, prophet, evangelist, being the others. I would probably prefer apostle, but that word brings along weird baggage. These words: movement and trainer; I think, embody the concepts that Scripture teaches better. I think that we can use different words for clarity. Ekklesia is probably not best translated “church “, it is probably best translated, “called out ones”, that is clunky, so we use church, I think movement better communicates the idea of Ekklesia.
That’s why I use these words, very intentionally.
I am also realizing that part of why I want to use these words is to have this very conversation. When we say “church” or “pastor” everyone assumes they know what those words mean. The Antioch Movement wants to redefine them and restore them to the kind of radical apostolic vision that they once had.
We also want to level the playing field. For too long in Western Christendom we have put men on pedestals. Men with M.Div’s and D.Mins and PhDs. We call them “pastor” or “reverend” and we, the church, turn over the responsibility of faithfully building the kingdom to them.
In the Antioch Movement we want to embrace the reality that all of us are members of a royal priesthood. We want to level the playing field so that men and women are leading out in faith engaging a world of people who are far from God. We want to build a movement of representatives for Jesus, ambassadors, who are imploring those around them to be reconciled to God.