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Newsletter March 2024

Reaching The Lost

Patrick Bradley, Director of Operations, Passion for PlantingThere are things we as church planters can learn from military strategy. While it may not be the best idea to wholesale adopt a military mindset when planting, even the Apostle Paul borrowed some ideas from military training and discipline in discipling Timothy (see 2 Timothy 2).

In recent decades, church planting in the US has largely taken a ‘shock and awe’ frontal assault approach to planting: organizing church activities (small groups, worship services, service projects, outreach events), doing them better than other churches in town, and inviting the community to join in those activities. More and more, we’re seeing this method attracting mostly Christians who are looking for a better church experience. Its effectiveness as a church planting strategy is waning if your mission is to reach the lost and reduce lostness in your city.

So how does a new church start in a way that reaches lost people instead of unintentionally shuffling Christians around to new churches? It’s time for more church planters to embrace something closer to guerrilla warfare tactics in their fight to retake spiritual ground the enemy has stolen.

It starts with reaching the lost before doing anything else, the direct result of a leader sharing their faith, reaching the lost, making disciples, and developing leaders.

This won’t be easy. It will require you to embrace a different style of ministry than most pastors are used to, and it will require you to invest more of your time in people over programs. This style of church planting is risky, time-consuming, and will probably require you to support yourself with work outside of the church. If you are called to this church planting strategy, you may come to question yourself when you see other church plants grow faster than yours. But on those days, remember your calling. Remember you’re a part of Christ’s special forces called to infiltrate enemy territory and rescue those living under Satan’s tyranny.

To equip you for your mission, we’ve filled this month’s newsletter with resources to help you reach the lost for Christ. Enjoy!

-Patrick Bradley, Director of Operations

March 2024 – Content

  • How Do Movements Start?
  • When Should I Share My Faith? 
  • Are You Leading By Example? 
  • Church Planter Boot Camp 

How Do Movements Start?

Jesus didn’t start a church; he started a Kingdom movement which spread across the globe. It’s like he infected his disciples with a contagious virus that they couldn’t help but spread wherever they went. Can this type of movement happen again? It happened in the 1970’s through a group of disillusioned hippies (The Jesus Movement). We believe it can happen again today. 

In order for it to happen, we’ll have to let God’s Holy Spirit lead the way, aligning ourselves with His movement. We’ll need to embrace certain leadership principles to help us build momentum towards a movement of people embracing Jesus as King. The blog post How To Begin A Movement by Doug Holliday offers an inspiring story about a recent movement along with valuable insights as to what sparked it. May it inspire you to go and do likewise. 

When Should I Share My Faith?     

Have you ever felt like you needed to build a relationship with someone before you could share your faith or the gospel with them? If so, you have company. Many Christians today have bought into the idea that they should not share their faith with someone they’ve just met because doing so would be awkward or ineffective. The truth is that all throughout the New Testament we see examples of people sharing their faith with strangers and preaching the gospel as early as possible. 

If you or someone you know is wrestling with when the appropriate time is to share the gospel with someone, read Dylan Kirkland’s blog post How Quickly Should We Share the Gospel? In it he shows why we shouldn’t wait to share our faith with others, but should follow the example modeled to us in scripture.

Are You Leading By Example?

If a friend were to ask you to help them share their faith, how would you do it? How would you equip them to share their faith? We all know Christians who want to share their faith, but think they don’t know how. So what would you do for a person like that? A great way to do it is by modeling for them how to do it. For instance, take them to a restaurant and share the 3 Circles Conversation with your server. Or ask how you can pray for the server and then share your 15-second testimony with them. 

There are many different ways to train people to share their faith, but one element that’s too often missed is modeling how to do it. People need an example to follow. Will you be that example for them? Here’s the challenge: take someone you’re discipling to a public place (restaurant, mall, coffee shop, gym, high school athletic event) and model for them how to share your faith. If we want others to do it, we need to lead by example. 

Church Planter Boot Camp  

Whether God is calling you to plant a church that reaches one lost person at a time or a church that revitalizes the spiritual landscape of a community, you will benefit from practical training that equips you to turn that vision into reality. Regardless of your model, planting a church is hard work. Don’t make it any harder than it has to be.

As Ecclesiastes 10:11 reminds us, “If the ax is dull, and one does not sharpen its edge, then one must exert more strength; however, the advantage of wisdom is that it brings success.” Don’t plant a church without first sharpening your ax and preparing yourself for the work ahead. Gain wisdom from seasoned church planters and be equipped with tools that will help you plant a healthy, multiplying church at our next Church Planter Boot Camp

Our new-and-improved boot camp combines online self-paced study and in-person instruction. Our next boot camp is just around the corner, happening May 9th-11th in the Washington, D.C. area. Sign up now! Also, bring your spouse or teammates with you using our group discount.

Photos by Ben White, Jamie Street, Toa Heftiba and Small Group Network from Unsplash.