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Newsletter January 2022

Looking Forward

Patrick Bradley, Director of Operations, Passion for PlantingI hope your new year is off to a good start. Mine is and I’m excited to see what God’s got in store for the rest of 2022. One thing I’m looking forward to this year is attending the Exponential Conference in Orlando, FL March 7th-10th. The theme of the conference is Empowered: Moving With The Spirit. We’ll be hosting a pre-conference equipping lab and a workshop track focused on church planting. If you attend the conference, please stop by our booth to say hi. We’d love to meet you face-to-face.

As much as we love serving church planters in person, we know technology is opening doors for all of us to minister to others in digital spaces. The opportunity to make disciples and start new churches online or at the very least by utilizing digital tools continues to grow. Before Covid the validity of online ministry was oftentimes questioned, but today it’s hard to find a church that doesn’t have some form of online ministry. We think that’s a good thing.

Adapting ministry methods is nothing new. The Apostle Paul took advantage of the technology to reach more people with the gospel. For him that meant writing letters and sending them along the new highway system Rome had constructed to connect its empire. Today we have the internet connecting not just an empire, but the entire world. Think about the reach we have? We can reach unreached people groups living in countries hostile to the gospel through online tools. We can minister to the sick and shut ins. We can make disciples and plant new churches among the billions of people who connect to the internet every day.

As we look towards the future, we see God opening a door for fruitful gospel ministry online. While we prefer connecting with people in person, we don’t want to miss the opportunity God’s giving churches to reach people with the help of digital tools. (For reasons why your church should continue investing in its online ministry in a post-Covid world read What Does The Metaverse Mean For Your Church) That’s why we’ve filled this month’s newsletter with resources to help you walk through the door technology is opening up for the gospel to spread like never before. Enjoy!

-Patrick Bradley, Director of Operations

January 2022 – Contents

  • Preparing for 2050
  • Future Church Podcast 
  • Sprout Digital
  • Disciple Making Strategy Template

Preparing for 2050  

During most of the 20th century the Eastman Kodak company dominated the film industry. For over one hundred years the company was at the top of its industry. All of that changed, however, in the late 1990’s as film sales began to plummet due to the popularization of digital photography. In 2012 Kodak filed for bankruptcy. All because they didn’t adapt to a changing world. Instead of creating products and services to help people share memories online, they invested in technology to support their physical film business. This once dominant business faded into obscurity because it didn’t adapt with the times. It didn’t adjust to serve the needs of the world around it. Is the church in danger of making the same mistake? 

Did you know that, according to demographer William Frey, by the year 2050 the United States will no longer have a majority ethnicity? It’s true. The country will be much more ethnically diverse than it is today. What does this and other cultural changes in our country mean for the future of church planting in the United States? Daniel Yang, director of the Send Institute, wrestles with that question in a recent blog post 4 Trends Shaping Church Planting and Growth Through 2050. It’s a fascinating read. We think you’ll be inspired and challenged by it. Thanks Daniel!

Future Church Podcast

Grab a front row seat to the leaders and churches that are pioneering new methods of ministry to reach our changing world through the Future Church Podcast. Passion for Planting’s Executive Director Todd Wilson produces the podcast to help church leaders see the opportunities and challenges awaiting us in the coming decades. 

Through the show listeners will discover new and effective ways to impact their world with the gospel. Current episodes highlight microchurch networks, virtual reality churches, and co-vocational church planting models. Listen, learn, and be inspired today for the sake of tomorrow’s church. 

Sprout Digital

Question: When the Apostle Paul sought to reach the progressive city of Athens for Jesus, where did he go to share the gospel? Acts 17:17 says he went to the local synagogue and the marketplace. In Greek the word for marketplace is agora. Like other Greek cities of the day, the Athenian agora was the hub of activity in the city. It was the city center. It was the central gathering place for people to exchange goods, contract services, conduct business, and share ideas. It was the closest thing the ancient world had to the internet. 

Today, the internet is an essential ingredient in our day-to-day lives. We can hardly function without it. Just think about the last time the internet went down at your office or house. You probably had to stop doing something, right? (email, researching, planning, Zooming) Whether we’re working, streaming, gaming, learning or shopping, most of us spend many hours of our day connected to the internet. The internet is the new agora. That’s why Sprout Digital is focused on helping more people find and follower Jesus online. This new ministry was started by church planters for church planters. If you or someone you know is interested in reaching people online, we encourage you to consider how Sprout Digital could help you make disciples and plant churches in online environments.

Disciple Making Strategy

One thing that won’t change in the future is the mission of the church. It’s always been and always will be making disciples of all nations. Jesus passed down that mandate to us himself, so nothing will change that. However, our strategy for making disciples might need to change to adapt itself to a changing world. 

We will benefit from re-examining scripture to see how Jesus trained his followers to reproduce and then apply those tactics to our current ministries. As it’s been said, methods are many, principles are few, methods always change, principles never do. To help you identify those unchanging disciple making principles that will guide your church’s efforts to make disciple who make disciples we’ve developed a Disciple Making Strategy Template. The template will walk you through several key questions to answer as you determine how your church will train people to hear God’s voice daily and follow his lead. Download your free copy today! 

Header photo by David Rodrigo, David Rangel and Jeremy Bishop from Unsplash.