In this final question from the July/August 2007 issue of Good News Magazine (GNM), Mark Beeson talks about church planting. I think his answer is a wake-up call to an organization which used to lead the world in church-planting but has become more interested in maintaining the institution.
GNM: After decades of decline, United Methodist leaders are now openly talking about church planting. What is your advice?
Mark Beeson: When I am building a team to accomplish a worthy goal, I look for people who love to win. If I can’t find any of those, I look for people who hate to lose. We need to find leaders who do not need our help. These are the potential-laden pastors we must help. We need to give these pastors more support, praise, assistance and freedom to innovate. When we start feeding what is growing the harvest will increase.
Stats on our recent decades of decline indicate we are not reaching new people, young people, ethnic minorities or Emergents. Our Church is comfortable and we like it the way it is.
Let me offer three reasons to plant new churches.
We are losing our culture and our heritage. America is in moral decline. Fewer people worship the Lord Jesus. The accepted vernacular of our contemporary culture is base, crude and degrading. Blatant acceptance of behaviors the Bible labels “sin” has the fearful wringing their hands and the emboldened reveling in bold, lewd license. Welfare entitlements weaken the general public, diminish productivity and pull our culture towards a socialist redistribution of wealth that undermines Christian generosity and the Protestant work ethic. So, there is a cultural reason for planting new churches.
Big government assures individuals they are less and less accountable for their own condition.
Whatever the problem, the government is to blame and the government will fix it. This unbiblical transference of responsibility – away from the individual – conditions people for projection, blame and the exemption-of-self from all responsibility. We will all stand before the judgment bar of God and give account. We are answerable to the King. If we allow the people for whom Jesus died to believe they bear no responsibility for the condition of the lives and souls of their neighbors, we have failed them! If we have any compassion at all, we must offer the life of a Christ-follower to everyone! In so doing, we give every woman and every man the opportunity for a life of purpose, meaning and fulfillment as they participate in the suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. There is a compassion reason for planting new churches.
Jesus said to “Go make disciples….” There is a Biblical reason for planting new churches.
Previously, I reprinted Mark Beeson's answers to these questions...
- Monday: What specifically sparked the vision to plant Granger Community Church?
- Monday: After twenty years of growth, what are the key ingredients to see a ministry expand?
- Tuesday: What are the largest obstacles to church growth?
- Wednesday: How do you attract so many seekers and young people?
- Thursday: What are seekers and young people looking for in a worship experience:
- Thursday: What is your model and vision for discipleship?