Category Archives: Church Planting

Being involved in church planting brings its own joys and challenges.

Living Outside the Bubble Pt. 1

Bubbles are fun.  I recently watched a video clip of a woman who entertains people all over the world with bubbles.  She does amazing things with various size tools that help form massive and then tiny bubbles, fill them with smoke, split them, build with them and utterly mesmerize her audience with her beautiful artistry set to compelling music.  Her finale ends with putting herself inside a bubble only to pop it from inside with an expressive gesture of freedom.  It really was mesmerizing and incredible.

It made me think of the church and something that I have found to be unhealthy and dangerous to the spreading of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Many good church going Christians live in what I and others call the Christian Bubble.  The bubble is the place where many Christians prefer to live surrounded by like-minded, caring people, consistent and predictable worship services, programs for the kids and some for the adults, outreach projects now and again and an all-around comfortableness.  Everyone by and large thinks the same, sends their kids to the same school, expect the same things, patronize one another’s’ places of business… you get the picture.  Everything is kept “in house” as close as possible. It feels safe and predictable.

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Ministry of Place Pt. 2: Living in “Place”

This is Part 2 of reflections on the Ministry of Place or more aptly, a Theology of Place. Starting a new church community is not an easy task. While some denominations and church planting organizations begin with a model they all ascent to, there is no fail safe method. We discovered that when we planted previously. As I alluded to in the last post on this topic, we can get so caught up in our methodology that we miss the mission of the church. We can so easily miss loving and serving the community we’re in and, in turn, arrogantly think ourselves superior expecting people from the neighbourhood and from hither and yon to come to our “programs”. I don’t know how often I’ve heard, “Well, they should just come to church.” To some people reading this, you’re thinking, what’s wrong with that?

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Ministry of Place Pt. 1

Before moving to Niagara Falls, Ontario my wife and I considered and pondered and prayed whether we were being called back into church planting. We were driven to go deep within ourselves, our passions and overall concern for the church.  Something unsettling, that had been lingering for quite some time, came to the surface.  Both my wife and I realized that we hurt that many many churches had lost a “sense of place” and some perhaps never had it to begin with.

What do I mean by a “Sense of Place”?

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Why Plant New Churches?

church_plantingThe answer to this question is actually quite simple yet the discussion within our context makes it complex. I take my lead from Dr. Timothy Keller of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York who has written a brilliant article on this very question. Following are excerpts from his article, Why Plant Churches? (2002).

There are numerous responses to the question worth considering.

  1. “We already have plenty of churches that have lots and lots of room for all the new people who have come to the area. Let’s get them filled before we start new ones.”
  2. “Every church in this community used to be more full than it is now. A new church will just take people from churches already hurting and will weaken everyone.”
  3. “Help the churches that are struggling first. A new church doesn’t help the existing ones that are just keeping their noses above water. We need better churches not more churches.”

These statements seem like common sense to many people, but they rest on several wrong assumptions. The error of this thinking will become clear if we ask, “Why is church planting so crucially important?”

Continue reading Why Plant New Churches?