In today's post, I pose some questions about church planting to one of my dearest friends and co-workers in the Kingdom. Meda and her husband launched a church plant a little over a year ago in a town just outside of Boston. It has been exciting to see the way the Lord has worked through their family to bring the gospel to their new town and neighborhood. A big thank-you to Meda for taking the time to answer my questions! She is truly the bomb dot com. If you feel so led, please pray for their church, Christ the King Newton.
1. Why are you planting a church? Don't we have enough churches?
This is a great question. There are enough church buildings in our area, but they tend to be empty! Our hope was to plant a church in an area that was lacking in Bible believing churches. In our city people may commute to work, but they prefer to live their personal life in a smaller vicinity. So, having more, smaller churches is a better model than one or two larger regional churches.
2. How does one decide where to plant?
A LOT of PRAYER!!!! We honestly spent months trying to discern where to plant a church. We would go on prayer walks, talk with neighbors, ask lots of questions, pray, research the existing churches, meet with other pastors, fast, seek the council of our church leadership. It was a very long process. In the end we just had to make a decision and trust the Lord.
3. Are you lone rangers? Was this just some idea you and your husband had on your own?
Definitely not! As we were trying to discern where to plant, we realized that there were several families that were commuting into our old church from their communities. However, it was difficult for them to invite neighbors to church because of the distance. Also, it was difficult to get involved in mid week activities and actually live life together. So, we were thrilled to have a core group of people who wanted to start a church in their community. My husband and I are definitely not lone rangers, nor do we think that is a healthy configuration for a church. Our first step was to ask interested families to regularly pray about being involved in the plant. Then we spent a year as a small group praying and getting to know each other before we started a public, worship service. We would meet each week to study the Bible, pray and develop what would be the core tenets of our church.
4. What do you find exciting about church planting?
I really like the intimacy. It is exciting to see who the Lord will bring each week. There is a sense of wonder as we see Him grow his church. I like the tension of "all hands on deck." It is certainly hard work, but I appreciate that we need everyone every week to conduct our service.
5. What do you find scary or intimidating about church planting?
Some of the things that are most exciting are also the most intimidating. It is a great thing to have everyone working together to conduct the service, but it is difficult when I know our family will be responsible for any loose ends whether it is set-up, clean-up or extra nursery duty. However, church planting is not our family business. I long for my kids to want to love and serve the church just as I long for other families to love and serve the church, not out of obligation but out of gratitude. I also have to continually remind myself that the church belongs to the Lord. I am called to serve to the best of my ability, but only He can grow and sustain our body.
6. Is there anything you wish people understood more about church planting?
We started our church because there was a need. It is what we were called to do. However we are all called to seek out the lost and meet that need with with Gospel. I am very thankful that our church has been motivated to aggressively plant churches. I am also thankful that our city has many church planters from many denominations doing the same thing. Church planting is just one way of loving your neighbor. It seems imperative for every believer to consider how they will respond to Jesus' commandment to love the Lord and love your neighbor.
7. How is being part of a church plant different from being involved in a more established church body?
I think you are more exposed in a church plant. People take notice if you are there or not there. While some people like that intimacy, others find it to be intimidating. In most plants, everything is a work in progress. The worship team is just starting, the children's ministry is new, we are trying to develop a mercy ministry, we are trying to meet our neighbors----EVERYTHING is fluid. Sometimes the "newness" can become tiresome. It is also an amazing chance to start anew and prayerfully consider why we do everything that we do! Also, because there is a dearth of any one age group, it feels more like a family to me. To other people it may seem lonely. Some people are looking for a group of peers that are at the same stage. They want more developed resources and established programs.
8. How can believers love the church by knowing more about church planting?
Church plants are not for everyone, BUT the Church is. We are continually blessed by people in churches all over that are praying for us, sharing resources with us, coming to worship with us! For the first few months, volunteers from other churches taught our children and staffed the nursery so our entire core group could worship together. That was such a wonderful blessing. We should all be praying for the church more than we do! We need to pray for her growth, for her members, for her leaders. It is hard to be faithful, in a church plant or in an established church. We need to pray that we remember and believe the gospel for which the church was established. Otherwise all we do is futile!