I often find myself severely intimidated by the image that comes to mind when I think of a “church planter.”  Now I’m not intimidated because I don’t know as much or don’t read as much (which I know I don’t anyway), but intimidated because I’m a little left of center when it comes to what people think of when the words “church planter” comes to mind.

Why would I say that? Well, we grocery shop at WalMart, buy our clothes at Target (we’ll upgrade to Kohl’s if need be), and use a PC (a Compaq no less). I like Chaco sandals, but not Chuck Taylors. I love to wear basketball shorts in the summer, and I don’t mind throwing on a pair of sweats if I need to run an errand. I am not hip, super creative, or really “urban.” I do not have an iPhone, I dislike coffee, and I have never watched a UFC fight, and I don’t think I ever will.

In other words, I don’t exactly fit the bill.  I’m kind of a nerd.

Last time, I briefly mentioned Mark Driscoll. Pastor Mark, Mars Hill, and Acts29 are really doing awesome things to spread the gospel and plant churches. Don’t get me wrong here: I love Acts29 and would love to partner with them someday if God would have that. But sometimes I think that the people around me who aspire to plant a church (which is a lot different than shepherding a church) want to become a Mars Hillian. That’s not my job. My job is to be me.

Call me crazy, but I don’t think any organization or church is to blame.  For some bizarre reason — and I really don’t know what it is, so feel free to chime in — my generation of Americans (particularly the white, middle-class males who want to be church planters) seem to have created this image of what a church planter should “be.” Look around you. Look around the blogosphere. It’s there. And if you don’t see it, your eyes aren’t opened wide enough.

The good news is that God doesn’t care where you shop or what cell phone you talk on. He doesn’t care if the church planter wears name brand skinny jeans or WalMart sweats. First Samuel 16:7 tell us that God looks at my heart and if that is right before him, the rest doesn’t really matter.


6 thoughts on “I have an iPhone and all the apps. Can I be a church planter?

  1. My mom still buys a lot of my clothes! I mean, what else is she going to buy me for my birthday and Christmas?

  2. I am not sure what your concern is in planting a church. I agree there is a difference in planting and shepherding. I am looking to plant a church in order to shepherd it for the rest of my life.

    As far as wanting to be a Mars Hillian, that is the furthest thing from my mind and birthday list. I am not a Driscoll fan, I am not a Acts 29 fan and I certainly don’t think Mars Hill is a model of a church that I want to shepherd.

    I have no backing, no group, no funds, no equipment, no light shows, no rock bands, no stone washed jeans, no iphone-ipad-o-pad. I am going to the park, the stores, where people are gathered talking to them handing out flyers about a new bible study hoping some will be drawn by the Lord and will keep coming back.

    Where did the model go of the New Testament? Paul went to a city, set up shop as a tent maker, started preaching the gospel. Why do we need all of today’s trappings to plant a church?

    O, yes, it takes too much time, work and effort, and there is no fan-fare and groupies. It is not an overnight sensation, therefore, one can not get on on the book wagon, preaching worship of how I did it, get invited to all the cool conferences.

    Just a couple of thoughts.

  3. I don’t so much have “concerns” as much as I have thoughts about how I “fit” into a mold that America has created. But like I said, when it comes down to it, it doesn’t matter if you fit a mold. Again, just thoughts. Take them with a grain of salt. ;)

    I’m curious, why don’t you like Mark Driscoll?

  4. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t being critical. I really was thinking out loud about my own situation. In addition I applaud you, pray for you, and want to stand alongside as you move into church planting. I have enjoyed your thoughts, insight, and most blogs tremendously.

    I am frustrated with many of the means taking shape today to plant, take over, reshape, and overhaul the local church today.

    I feel the causul-ness and familiarity with holy things does not lead people into holiness but actually away from it. Let me quickly, say, I do not judge anyone’s motives or heart, I am forbidden from doing that but the fruit serious lacks in these type of ministries.

    I don’t think that ecclesiology needs to be re-defined nor do I think all the expressions of the church are valid. I think he lacks in discernment of what the church is.

  5. I’m glad you began to make a small distinction (whether intentionally or not) between church planting and shepherding.

    The church planter does not stop planting churches. His job is not necessarily preaching, shepherding, or pastoring. Some of those things could fall into his job, but the church planter plants churches and moves on.

    Within the American idea of church planting many think “Hey, I want to plant a new church and then pastor it… I must be a church planter.” Which, don’t get me wrong, is a great thing. It very well could be my ambition in life. But if we call this the work of a church planter, then we will lose the real role of a church planter– an apostle who specializes in moving to a certain area, seeing individuals come to faith, uniting them, seeing them move towards maturity, and then moving on to a new area after his work is finished. This is a church planter.

  6. Yes, I should have made the distinction more clear. I am a shepherd not a church planter. I am not an evangelist, though as a shepherd I am to do the work of an evangelist. I have no desire to plant personally but one church. I want to plant a church in Longview, then in the next 10 years send men to plant a new church in Kalama, Castle Rock, Kelso, and Ranier as separte local churches while remaining at the Longview church for the rest of my life.

    I am praying for a partner in ministry. I am praying for an evangelist who will come alongside and help me gather the lost, share Christ with them, as God saves them by His grace, batpize them and then teach them all things that Christ taught.

    As of yet God has not brought this man into my life. Never the less, I am working to gather people together in order to start a bible study and patiently wait for God to add to it as He sees fit.

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