Church Planting 101: No More Gimmicks

Over the last year I have read more church planting books than I have read of any other genre or subject (scripture not included of course).  I am just about Kindled out of all of the philosophical debates over church planting methods.  Every church planter has the solution to your church planting woes.  It’s 8 steps to this and 5 steps to that and 11 ½ steps to being the next mega-church guru.

Each of these notable church planters has their own website, books, DVDs and plethora of ideas.  Of course, their idea is the best and most profitable for your church.  And the only way to “get ‘er done”!

Now granted I have only been in the church planting business for 12 short months.  So perhaps my venting is premature.  And I may look back on this and say they were all right and buy my book and DVDs because I have all the answers after all too.  However, I am finding that Jesus is more right than the modern day church planter. (More right?  Sorry English teachers; my bad).

Ouch!  I would like to apologize to my church planting friends, but right now I am rather disgusted.  Mostly I am disgusted at believing all the hype.  I feel like we have treated church planting like a sanctified QVC channel.  We (church planters) have spent the last 10-15 years criticizing the “traditional” church model only to create a new and improved church model.  We may not have programs, but well then again we very much do have programs.  We just call them by new names.

Barna and Rainer and all the survey gurus want us to believe that the western church is shrinking because of all the hypocrites in the Church.  It is difficult to deny data and impressive statistics.  But I think that Jesus knew what He was talking about when He said people will hate you because of Me.

The truth is our church planting gimmicks cannot change a person’s heart.  It didn’t work in the days of Peter and Paul, and it still does not work today.  Oh yes, they presented the Gospel in cultural context and met the people where they were spiritually.  But shiny screaming guitars and cleaver sermon titles and water bottle give-aways do not change people’s hearts.  Only God can change people!

The Spirit of God is in the heart changing business.  The Spirit and grace of God are at work in this life.  And somehow His grace and our prayers combine to become a powerful force to be reckoned with on earth.  We may reach some people with gimmicks and prayer; we may even reach some people with gimmicks and no prayer.  But we can reach the world with prayer and Jesus alone.

I am tired of relying on gimmicks instead of Jesus and prayer.  The strongholds of the enemy will not be brought down with our cleaver tricks.  The disciples said to Jesus “why could we not cast out this demon”?  And Jesus replied, “You are so foolish! This one ONLY comes out through prayer and fasting”.

Beginning Tuesday, September 6th, we will be meeting at 7:00pm for devotions and prayer.  Come join us in winning the world for Christ.  No more gimmicks; just Jesus!

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