Over in facebook I saw the question: “What advice to you offer for starting a simple church movement from scratch?”
I responded there, but wanted to post it here as well:
I say, “beware the yeast of church growth ambitions.” It’s a slippery slope from those passions to the “can do” business structures we are so good at constructing in our sleep, and there we are again – a very twisted mess of business and church together. I don’t see the NT church talking about church growth, multiplication, etc. like we hear so much in our circles, but rather the focus is hearing and obeying the voice of the Lord. And the simple church crowd I’ve seen is no different here. In fact, to many it feels like a “green field” and it stirs our business entrepreneurial energies like nobody’s business. We need good discernment here regarding the flesh vs. the Spirit of God. After so many centuries at building all shapes and types of church businesses, I believe we can’t help but have significant blindness here, but God is helping us.
Our business growth abilities are wonderful and God given (Eccl 5), but I believe should largely be kept in the realms of earthly doings. Sure, I think the Lord can use our abilities, but I find in my own journey that they need to be completely slaughtered sacrificially at the alter, surrendered to the Lord, and left to die when it comes to application to his church. And then be very careful if/when to apply them to church life ever again. As I’ve observed the simple church crowd that I too am a part of, I see those same energies getting stirred in such a way that the “church business” approaches are simply being repackaged in new structures – but will nodoubt result in the same undesired end. Good, mature relationships among the church around you, who know you and the Lord, are an important “check” for us. It’s being incredibly valuable for us to move as a church body, rather than an individual, in this department.
Jesus only did what he saw his father doing. How much more do we need to “see” and know what he’s doing in our midst, and simply follow. We don’t need to have a master plan. He’s already got one! 🙂