5 June, 2014 Hugo Charteris
Last time I wrote about some downsides to church planting. Yet there are significant upsides. Not least that church planting is a great God given way of reaching new communities with the gospel of the Lord Jesus.
In this blog I simply want to highlight one upside. That is the opportunity a new church has to establish a healthy church culture, for the benefit of Christian and non-Christian, from the off.
You see churches are classically difficult to change (ironic given the gospel is about change), they get enslaved to tradition, and enslaved to people who will not let that tradition go. It’s not unusual for a church to be so detached from its local culture that for outsiders it’s almost impossible to penetrate. In contrast a new church has the opportunity from day one to set healthy patterns, structures, and ways of relating.
What might this mean?
- Make sure when planting not to unthinkingly transfer the culture of the sending church to the new one. Whether the new church is a church from scratch or church created by transfer, there needs to be a robust, ongoing determination to think things through all over again.
- Make sure when planting not to become so much like the general culture that the new church is not really church. There needs to be that core commitment to church as the gathering of God’s people around God’s word, allowing the Scriptures to inform and transform.
- Make sure, as the new church becomes an old church, that there continues to be a culture of change. Which requires leadership. Leaders who are more concerned to see a church walking together and fit for mission, than one where the greatest concern is not to upset people who want things the way they’ve always been.