Thursday, May 1, 2008

What is our focus?

At Exponential 2008 I had signed up for the "Missional Church" main session. I was not sorry or dissatisfied with my choice. It was a great opportunity to hear from three leading thinkers in the realm of "Missional" church planting.

Ed Stetzer is a missiological genius. If you poked him he would bleed missiology. His thoughts on this whole concept are not new, they are Biblically rooted and go all the way back to the beginning. God is a missional God. He sent His Son, the Son sends us. Ed is not proposing some new model for church planting. He is simply calling the church back to its mission; to be the missionary that will go into the community and its culture and make Christ known.

Neil Cole says that small and simple is more easily reproducible than large and complex. He has proven this concept to be true as he has literally planted hundreds of smaller house churches and cell groups. Neil points out the obvious (what should be obvious) when he states that "where two or three are gathered, there I will be in their midst." Neil also proposes a decentralization of leadership within the local church, which allows the church to grow naturally (organic). Organic churches are self-supporting, self governing and self-reproducing. I can identify with this concept, It resonates with me. I can see gatherings of 12-50 being more easily reproduced. This cuts out the need for large buildings and large budgets, as well as being more relational. 10 gatherings of 50, spread out over a region would reach more people than one central gathering of 500.

Alan Hirsch is truly a prophet for our time and needs to be listened to.
I found Alan Hirsch's position on the centrality of Christology hitting a nerve in the core of my inner being. That is exactly what I've been thinking about these past three years as I have planted the CORE Church of Troy; getting back to that Christ centered focus.

The Pauline concept, For I decided that while I was with you I would forget everything except Jesus Christ, the one who was crucified.(1 Cor.2:2) cuts through a lot of arguments over theological and religious opinions. The people in my inner-city neighborhood need to see Jesus through the works of our local church. They need to know that God loves them and has not forgotten them. Thanks, Alan Hirsch, for confirming what I've been thinking and for adding your own insights.