Urban Church Planting - Lesson 10
Character of an Effective Leader
An effective leader needs to be able to think and evaluate situations “Christianly.”
Character of an Effective Leader
A discussion of how we can employ the Nicene ecclesiology to discern the nautre of church movements today.
The New Testament does not legislate any particular definition of the church but it does give us images of what the church should be. In attempting to describe what church is, images may be more effective than dogmatic assertions. This is illustrated by the fact that Christian theology has never agreed on a definition of church.
Seven core passions of revolutionary spirituality as defined by Barna. What matters is who you are, not what church you associate with. The nature of the revolution Barna describes is about building relationships, commitments, processes and tools that enable us to be the God-lovers we were intended to be from the beginning of creation. It’s not about eliminating, dismissing or disparaging the local church.
Can you truly be saved and be growing without being connected to a local church body? The biblical emphasis on the people of God as a community of believers versus the modern world’s emphasis on a totally individualistic understanding of life.
When considering church tradition, it’s essential to be able to distinguish between the core evangelical convictions, those contexts where our own distinctives can be made and the organizational structure we share because we choose to.
The message of the Gospel is that we are free to love God and serve others. We are free from the heart and shouldn’t be doing things only because of tradition. There are certain structures and patterns in the Bible that we are not free to innovate on (e.g., leadership nomenclature like elders, deacons). The early church was not into relationship as much as structure. Structure trumps relationship.
Beginning of examining conclusions about the nature of church plant movements. You have a greater success of establishing community if the people perceive themselves as having a common identity.
There are elements of church planting strategies based in Scripture that are working in other parts of the world that would also work in an urban setting in the U.S.
Successful urban church planting often involves people from the same group, share a common identity and share spirituality in a coordinated and integrated way. We should plant grow and sustain churches within a particular linguistic, cultural and ethnic identity. God blessed culture. We retain our differences and we share a common calling.
An effective leader needs to be able to think and evaluate situations “Christianly.”
We will consider the factors and forces connected to a remarkable phenomenon of church planting movements taking place throughout the world today. At a time when definitions of the Church have become more and more loose and individualized, we will analyze all church plant and growth theories as they relate to the Nicene marks of the Church in the world. Using these marks as a representative of a legitimate biblical view of the Church, we will then discuss and investigate the connection between church planting and world evangelization, growth, and leadership development. You may also access this class at Tumi.org under the title, "Winning the World: Facilitating Urban Church Planting Movements."
It's pretty amazing when it comes to trying to trying to conceive all of the things that we do. The purpose of Tumi is very clear in my mind. The purpose of to me is to equip a generation of leaders who really are capable to to represent God and his interests in the city, to advance the kingdom there. And I truly do believe that God is knowing that our students have planted churches, started ministries, done all kinds of different things. But one of the most important things to prepare a leader, it seems to me, to really represent the interests of God in the city. Being so diverse and so challenging, so difficult, is that leaders need to be able to weigh things very carefully. The way we learn to talk about it in grad school is that a leader really needs to be a person who can think. Christian Lee. Now in a in a real way. Let's narrow that down. Let's see. Thinking Christianly. Now, what that means is what I want to really talk about today. We have covered enough evidences on church planning and the nature of the church and how to grow churches, how to mobilize churches, how to think about these these subjects that I think that that the goal my one of my original goals has been accomplished very, very well, which is that we would be exposed to a number of different views of how churches are organized, how they are fed, how they are led, how they grow. And the one thing when you are exposed to a number of different opinions about that is that you settle in on a model that seems, you know, given your interests, your situation, your own commitments to sort of focus together.
But I think if this is this if this were a semester long course, this would be seven of 16 different weeks that we would have to really go into this. In this case, we have to end on this week. And, you know, at the end we won't at our first break will be the end of our class. I mean, we will be done with this class in this session. So in some ways we don't have the advantage to really sort of press these things and to go into all of these different subjects with the sort of, you know, freedom that we could if we had a little longer time. But I think I truly do believe that we have learned enough about church planning across the world and church planning movements that we can really we can really isolate. And that's what I tried to do last week to isolate some of the more important principles using Kipling's sort of who, what, why, where, which those last week I still, in looking at everything, finishing the reading, looking at where we are now in all of our conversations. I still think that there needs to be the most significant thing we can in this course on is an idea of the of all of these different pairs. I've been able to identify certain complementary concepts that really need to be that whatever model we choose, however God calls me to pastor or leader church, whatever model of church growth or mobilizing you want anything that is convincing to you in terms of planning new churches or training leaders, there seems to me to be a real need to sort of be to think Christian about the categories that we have and to think Christian. Lee I'll never forget one of my old professors, New Testament professors at Wheaton, who said that thinking Christian Lee is understanding quite literally that truth is very, very difficult to comment.
If somebody were to ask you now, you finished the course on church planning movements, you know, and and they were to say, okay, what are the what are the key principles that you learn and what are the key models and how do we do it? To me, the answer that I wish that all the students in this class would say is it all depends. It all depends. I mean, in other words, you shouldn't be at this point now in your own study, even if you are completely committed to a particular model or way of doing this. There should be there should be enough love of mystery and understanding of the difficulty of these subjects that you see that there are, at least in my mind, certain fundamental problems with the categories that we use and the categories, depending on what categories you use, we will determine not only where you begin your race, but where you end up. And I am convinced, especially with church planning movements and urban planning movements in particular, that we really need. Just for a moment, I haven't done this in this class. It's amazing to me the sort of wisdom that can come from meditating on these things and thinking about these things. It seems that I am actually starting tonight to summarize and end our course with some ideas that frankly should have been at the very beginning and sort of sort of spread out over the entire course. But that's that's to me, that's what I love about teaching. That's what I hope you love about learning, is that I am I am just dramatically hungry for integration. I want to know how all the things fit together. I'm constantly looking for what what physicists are looking now in string theory.
They're trying to find the one great principle that will integrate science of the large and the science of the small, of science of the universe, science of the molecule. And they are trying in some way to find one massive principle. They probably will never find it. But we can at least as Christians and think interestingly, we can really see that at the end of this course and where we are now and with some of us really determined to take these principles and to try to test them in real life to to start real movements, I mean, I want to tell you that to me has completely redesigned over the last months, many months. We've redesigned our entire purpose statement to include church planning movements. We intend to train leaders who can really sustain these movements, create these movements, who understand these movements. So this is this is not for me. This is very important. I mean, I've studied this as a call to really understand exactly what to me is supposed to do. So it's not just sort of I'm not treating this as at arm's length. I am very concerned about how do we actually come to define those steps and those processes that will allow us to plant thousands and thousands of churches in the poorest, most broken communities in America in the American ghetto. I mean, that is that's the point that I have been going. And I truly do believe that if someone were to say, okay, Don, after all this study and everything you've done and all the reading and all the research and you know what, what, what, what have you come up with? I would tell them that I think that there is there is a fundamental problem underlying all of this research that we need to be aware of, that there are certain problems with mis theological and theological categories that if you're not aware of how reductive they are, they will slant everything you see and frankly, you won't be able to take the nuggets that you have so justly.
You know, you've won from your own hard work and study and our lectures and be able to really build on those. So really tonight, what I want to do in this last thing is sort of to talk about what I have found to be now after everything that I have done in my own work, the eight complementary concepts that I think that I can really take and make my own in urban church planning movements. Now, these to me are based on everything that we have done and more So this is sort of a magna Carta for me, at least the first draft. I am trying to sort of make plain if someone asks me, what's the fruit of your research? This is what I'm going to tell them now. It seems like your handouts have nothing to do with urban church planning, but you will see in a moment that they have everything I do believe to do with church planning, because our problem of effectively is a categorical problem. It's the way we define the problem, which is the problem. And if we can learn to define the problem correctly, then quite literally, I think we can find a key that will open a ton of doors for us. Verne Khoi Thrace, South African theologian, reform theologian, person who writes a lot about the integration between theology and science, who has written a really nice little piece on the Tabernacle. And I mean, he's a very quirky scholar, and I think that's why I like him. He writes on very distinct things. You write a book on science and philosophy, and then he writes something on the tabernacle, meaning write something on, you know, like this little piece, a little skinny book, symphonic theology.
And then he's a great guy. I like him a lot. He wrote to me what I think is a primer for every person who wants to do serious theological work. I mean, this is this is if you really catch yourself as a I mean, you want to do the sort of work in one and you conceive yourself as a budding philosopher or theologian or emphasis, symphonic theology, devout. The validity of multiple perspectives on theology is well worth the money. It's out of print. But, you know, it's amazing what you can get over Amazon these days. This is something that he says that I want to use to sort of set the tone for everything that we see in this last little bit together. No category gives us a kind of metaphysically ultimate analysis of the world. Nothing will change the fact that we are creatures with limited knowledge and with a variety of possible perspectives. And speaking of a category or theme, I have in mind not only biblical themes such as covenant, revelation, prophet, King and priest, but also terminology coming from other sources, such as the normative, situational and personal perspectives on ethics or philosophical terminology, such as being infinite, necessary, logical reason, existence and mind. You are in that paragraph. You see that no one, regardless of how bright they are, can find a category that's going to make everything plain. There are no magic bullets in research. None. Not in urban church planning, not in not in anything, not in spirituality, not in being a dad or mom, not in planning a church or being a pastor. There are no categories that are just self-evidently true. We have to pour content into them, he says. I claim that no single category, theme or concept and no system of categories confronts us with an infinitely deep analysis of the world.
I just as just a fat, excellent sentence. No category gives an analysis that is innately more penetrating than any other could be. Moreover, no category is capable of being form that allows human beings to separate the world or any aspect of the world neatly into two parts, leaving no residue or disagreement about possible intermediate cases, no category, whether from philosophy, theology, natural natural science, or any other discipline, which is missions and theology for this course gives us the essence of a particular group of things. If we take portraits seriously. And for the purpose of our last conversation, I want to if there is no category from any discipline that can give us the essence, the ultimate analysis of anything, then it seems to me that at the beginning, at the end of our study, we have to sort of revisit the categories that we've been using. We've talked about all different kinds of categories, and it seems to me the more I've looked at everything that we've done so far in canvas, all of the models and all of the things that we've talked about, it seem to me that there are certain kinds of things in discussions on urban search plan movements that are complementary. And if we and if we're not aware of our problem with the categories that we have, is something a house, church model or a community model or a megachurch model, and how hard are lines do we draw between these models? What is taking place in China, in South Central Asia and in the Muslim world and all the things we read about, Oh, what is church in quotation marks, and how do we how do we form these categories? Is it valid for us to do what we have done throughout this course and using the Nicene Markers as the valid markers, the valid apology markers for the church? The church is one.
The is holy, the church is Catholic, the church is apostolic. What what categories have we left out? And if so, what are they? I think that we have to do two things tonight and do them quickly, and I intend to do them before our first break. And then you'll be done. So will I. Thank God. The first thing we have to do is that I have to introduce you to this idea of thinking, Christian. What does it mean to think in terms of complementary concepts and then apply those complementary concepts to what we've done in this course? I think that there are certain certain certain poles north and south, certain things that seem to be in competition with each other, that seem to contradict each other, that are not that way at all. And so I think let me let me then begin with, you know, the impossible to in a few minutes give you the idea of complementary concepts. It's a philosophical idea in terms of missional and theological reflection. Then we will apply this ruler to what we have done so far in this course. I think it will be helpful for us again, Porter says. People are not all alike. They do not always notice the same thing, even when they are looking at the same object. This commonplace observation has some profound implications for the way we do theology. I would say also for the way we think about churches. Do ministry, do do, do, and candidly, the way we have come to conceive these urban church planning movements that we're talking about in these last couple of weeks, Jesus said at the end, or, you know, in the text of John seven, do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment.
And there's an entire there's an entire body of texts in the Bible that say that we need to be wise and we shouldn't be bigoted or partial in the way we judge things. Proverbs 2423 says are these are also sayings of the wise partiality to you and judging is not good. Jesus again. And John 815 says you judge according to the flesh. I judge no. One. He was indicting the crooked, wrong sort of wobbly perspective of the Pharisees on a point. And Paul could say, don't quench the spirit, don't despise prophecies, but test everything all fast, that which is good and abstain from every form of evil. Now, guys, please, I apologize, but I have to sort of give you this, otherwise you won't understand what we're about to do with these principles and the complementary concepts that I have been able to detect in urban church planning movement or frankly, I have endorsed these principles from what we've learned from Garrison, Kreider, Barna and more in the and try to apply them to our task to find out what is the precise strategy, if one exists, that we need to use to really to multiply thousands of churches among the poorest of the poor in American communities, in churches that survive and last and thrive and grow? Well, let's look at this principle first. The nature of truth seeking in missions in theology is that it's pretty plain. Now, these six things here are just givens. You could write you could write a book on each one, but they're just given in good thinking. Now, I don't know if you've been taught to think or take a class on thinking. I'm not talking about a class of drug class on logic or Aristotle. I'm talking about thinking these are just some thinking principles, principles that I rely on a lot in what I do.
You simply can never know, first of all, all about anything. You just can't. But you can understand it well enough to make an informed, temporary judgment. How much do we know about church planning so far? Some. A little bit more than we started. We can't know all. And we still don't know a whole lot from Garrison. Even after reading it, there are tons of questions that I wish he would answer. He just ignored the sort of questions that I was interested in. But I know quite a bit more now on the nature of church planning movements. Oh, let's let's make it this way. Garrison talks about a ton of different movements. I'll sort of pick on him throughout this this last time. No two things, situations or circumstances or identical, and we must be careful in evaluating them as such. I mean, so you saw we read about church planning movements in Cambodia, in China, in India, among Muslims. Now, is there is it even fair for us to say in looking at all these different things? Here are here's a principle that I see in all of. Is that right? Is that good? How do we know it's a principle? How could you verify what you think you know now? You know what I mean? We're not going to India or Cambodia. We're not going to do it. So you have to be very, very careful, even in the judgments you make people and things may behave and act quite differently in new circumstances in places. Does the strategy coordinator act the same way in Cambodia as they do in India? And how would we know from reading Garrison? Does anyone know if a house church in the mountains of Latin America functions the same way a house church functions in, you know, in Cambodian jungle, as he was talking about? They're both house churches.
How do we know what what do they have in common and how do we find out? Frankly, this is the underlying problem with all mis theology. And it's stunning to me that our authors didn't make this plain in their writing. Here's what I'm saying. They didn't make it plain. None of them made it plain. Did Garrison ever say, Now, look, I know it's not. It's going to be hard to compare what's going on in Cambodia with China in that with the Muslim world. And but he began with the definition. Then he applied his definition to everybody. It's very, very difficult. All I'm saying is that these things, House Church in Cincinnati is is going to be different from a house. Church in a in Cincinnati suburb is going to be different from a house church in Cincinnati ghetto. And it's going to certainly be different from a house church in Wichita suburb. Or is it or how would we know? I'm just asking you guys to sort of this to me is what research should be. If you want to play that game, you have to play it. And I'm just saying that many of our books didn't play it very well. I'm just, you know, I'm just telling you, I mean, not the way I was. Train number four things exist in varying degrees, and we are Christians, so we know that the Christianity, if the Holy Spirit isn't in a situation, it doesn't matter what you observe, Right? What difference does it matter what your structure is or what your authority is? If the Holy Spirit is not present, I mean that that solves a lot of I mean, that can create problems if that's not true. I mean, things exist in varying degrees, though.
It's very plain that that Paul sometimes is worshiped in his missionary journey. Other times he is. He is. He is. STONE Things appear differently to different people because of the nature of their personal perspectives and experiences. In other words, you can put the same two people in the same situation. They will see totally different things. I am convinced that we have a nice in Barna, a very nice white suburban sort of analysis of Christian experience from his perspective. From Garrison. We have a we have a will study of, you know, a global picture from a Baptist sort of perspective on the nature of church planning movement. Crider is a white American middle class fellow who has been a pastor of a large megachurch that turned into wholesale church and wrote a book about that transformation in Moral is just a good Wesleyan brother who is, you know, he's just a dear Wesleyan missionary that I met and talked to and very nice fellow and is very intrigued with what we're doing and would be very humble and say, I haven't figured out anything. I'm just saying that all of these things, the things that they saw, the things they emphasize, are all different because of who they were. And then let's let's the last thing is that everything changes. Dear friends, all of us in ministry know that Cambodia 2000 to house church may not be the same as Cambodia 2004 House Church And how do we know what Cambodia 2006. You know house churches. That's the problem with great numbers and all of this. We have no way to really track it real time. Our reconnaissance is. Oh, yes, man. That why I mean, really, what he just said is the whole point of this course, at the end of this course, we should come away with a little more knowledge, with many perspectives from from different things.
But but quite literally, when it comes down to real concrete, give me the plan so I can go out tomorrow and do it in Wichita. It's just not present. And that's why that's why really it's amazing to me that at the end of our course, we come to where we should have begun. We should have began quite literally with the sort of humility that Matt talks about. And it will be very disturbing of any of us lead a course like this. And you you are not at least somewhat aware that you really need to be humble as you go forward. Everything is changing. Things appear differently to different people. Things exist in varying degrees. People in things behave and act differently depending on time and circumstances. No two things are identical, and you never can know everything about everything. And if you just begin with those things that solidly, then you can you can make you can really identify what some of the things, some of the triggers for small mindedness that I'm hoping that all of us will avoid as a result of this course. And I've given you ten of those things that triggers that I just think are built into us because we are not humble. Like Matt said, we tend to view this data on church planning movements and we skew it because of who we are in our own historical conditioning and limitations. Quickly, let me just read them so we have no time to really sort of analyze them, but I'm hoping that you will do some work on your own. One, We cannot escape our tendencies and predispositions to hear things in a pretty determined way. We are conditioned to believe our way is best. I don't know how you come out on this or regarding the house, church, the community church, the traditional church, the sale church, the house church network.
But I bet if we had a sort of a, you know, some sort of spiritual X-ray machine that most of us are in the course where we began or how many have just completely changed their view of of church and what is possible. I mean, you just feel like this is you know, I'm just too that's wonderful too is like too is like makes me want to cry, you know, because you can go really, quite literally because of our own conditioning is very. Easy to see where I came into this course, thinking the churches should be organized in this way. Leadership should be done in this way. We should move in this way. And you can leave in pretty much the same way. I just think that that is a pretty determined, preconditioned inclination. In other words, I don't think you can fight yourself. It takes a remarkable person to have the humility that Matt was talking about. Frankly, most of us aren't like that. You know, life has to drive over you before you understand what you need to know. It's just a true number two. We are prone to read things and hear others in a certain way because of our own predetermined positions and perspectives. We can't hear others because of what we expect them to say. And quite honestly, if they don't say what we want them to say, especially in regard to some of these models, then quite literally, it's even harder for us to hear them. Number three, we can operate on misconceptions which block our ability to read the data in a fresh way, which is what I'm hoping we will continue to do. The misconceptions can also help reinforce your old ways of saying things. I mean, in other words, you can just be blind and not even know it, become more and more bland, more and more rigid in holding the same old tired view of the church and and the way we can approach this whole thing of of church planning movements.
I think number four, we tend to reduce issues down to solvable handle bits and pieces, chunks of reality that we can fit together in our mosaic. To me, I leave this course thinking the church movements are very, very complex. They are not easily discerned. We are not we don't come away with a very nice little handle that I can sort of do like Garrison and Carl Pouch or an acrostic that I could call life or, you know, and just That's it. Church. Church. I've got the church thing. And now we just plant the plant. We got the plant, and now we're ready. Let's just go forward. It's easy. Anyone who's tried to do the plant knows it. It doesn't work like that. You do a little pee, then you got to do a little inaction. You run over to the A, you think your tea and learn from a from from from a from a meeting you had with leadership that you were actually in the ail state, you know. You know what I'm saying? In other words, it's all mixed up. It's not clean. It's not handled. It's not easy. It's not formulaic. Number five, once we become invested in a model or perspective, you can become aggressive, defensive and obstinate. You carried placards and you walk around the house. Church network is the only way the organic church is it God? Barnard, who I'm on a revolution with, Brother Barna or whatever it might be. I mean, it's just very easy to become aggressive. And I can tell you that there are there are many that I run to who are involved in church planning. We're very aggressive about the one way that they found to do it. And they're obstinate. They really are.
Ha! You can, number six, become enslaved to a strict Aristotelian either or kind of conceptual observation in reductive thinking. All things are black and white with no grays. Aristotle did us a favor by creating this syllogism. Some of you guys know what syllogism is. All men are mortal. Don is a man. Therefore, Don is born. This is. This sort of thinking is the heart of Western analytical rationalistic thinking. It's the way we have been taught to think about everything. And out of this, there are certain laws that have come out. Identity. A is a. Let me see if I remember them. Identity. The excluded middle. Everything must be. It must be a or not any. There is no in between. I mean, that's just basic Aristotelian logic. Identity of. Yeah. I'm trying to think what what is the way excluded middle is with that car. There is one further law identity. Yeah that's right That's what is that call non contradiction. I heard you say that but that that he just non contradiction. Something cannot be a. You cannot have a and non and not a. At the same time. Now, this is from from one standpoint, it just seems totally reasonable, right? I mean, I'm not and I'm not going to take on Aristotle today all although although there was a group of us who did in graduate school, we wanted to come up with a better a more a more fluid, a more dynamic understanding of epistemology than this. We are Donna is Don is a man and Don is Don is eternal to Don is more than just mortal. It all depends on if this is all there is. It's very nice because it if if the content of it is right, the argument is call.
If the content is right. Come on, now. Let's see. You guys will understand if the if the guts of this is right, there's guts in there is for. If the true content of that, if the guts are right, if the form is right, it's called valid. Right is a valid argument. If I put the pieces together in the right way, it's a valid argument. If the guts are right, as you know, we just call it true. True or not. Now, quite literally, you know, thousands of rhetoric courses, hundreds of philosophy courses, all kinds of thinking is being done on that. The only problem with that is that it's hard to think personally and to think this way. Very, very difficult. Isn't Jesus both God and man? Jesus is God and man, not just God or man, right? He can be both God and man at the same time. I mean, it's completely opposite of the way we have been taught to think. You have a blue sheet. Would you pull it out? Y'all this, this. You will. You will think Don has lost his whole mind. But before you suggest that, I just want to. There was a group of us three, three graduate students at university at Wheaton that really wanted to say that what we have been talking about here and what you want to relate to urban church plant movements is not enough. We've got to think. We've got to think in a in a more fluid way, identity excluded, mental and non contradiction really are good, but they're not they're not the last word on old Christian thought anyway. If you really if you look at the way Christians look at it on your own, see, we affirm certain things that on the face of them look completely opposite and contradictory, that in regard to to a Christ on deity, in regard to the Trinity, he is one in essence with the Trinity is in fact one essence Father, son and Holy Spirit of the same, same essence, same homozygous.
And yet we actually affirm that there are three different persons. Y'all, there's no way to use Aristotelian logic to figure that out. You can't do it. You can. You can do that. Turn it around. Use ice and eggs and all kinds of analogy for training. None of them work, and none of them are really good enough. Jesus. Down here, Jesus is both. He will, I think, in this in a real sense. Jesus. Jesus is a human being. And he is in fact, He is. He is one essence, one person, one essence, but two distinct persons. This is done wrong. I'm going to have to talk to Tim about that. You see what he did? He didn't change the guts. Do you see that? That's that's what you need to do. What artists there any artists here? Any of you artists. I can't. I can't use that. You see that? I It's easier for me. It's easier for me. And you'll. You'll. You'll. You'll get a nice sheet when it's done. Right. Christ is. Christ is. Is God. For us. Christ. His main. And dear friends, these two truths are complementary. They can't be resolved in any way. You have to just affirm them. You confess them. You believe them, not because you can explain them, not because you can resolve one and to the other, but because they are connected. Because the Bible is actually explain them that way. Now, when you go this way, if you go this direction, this is if you go this direction. And if I exaggerated this claim, if I want it to say let me just exaggerate this claim, Christ is God, I could say that. Christ. Is only God. That's an exaggeration of this coin. I could say crisis, man.
And Christ is only me. If I call this A and this B and this not A, this not B. Most of the time when we say A in models and if you're committed to B, you will hear that I am not. I am not. Let me put it this way. When I've had countless arguments with people, when I strongly argue that Christ is God, they heard that I was saying that Christ was not man. Do you hear what I'm saying? I was not saying that Christ was not a man. I was just saying that he is God. And quite literally for you, those of you who preach, you have to preach both the same way with the same heat, with the same energy, and not even care if you can resolve it for your fault. You do it because it's the truth. It's the way truth is. It's not because you can figure it out. It's not because you can ever resolve it. It seems to me, using this. Using this sort of analysis. A lot of what we have done in this course is unfortunately. The inability for us to really put together you have a sort of a peach colored sheet. One of our great problems in this course is that all of the categories that we've used understand church planning. If we are not fluent, if church is not the way I hope we come out of this church, out of this course is that church should be looked at as community. Mega. House church network. Salle Church and the church can be in every form. You see, I loved one out. I don't think the bond is really. I think Barna is outside of the biblical understanding, but I think that what we need to do is rather than being hard and fast, we need to find a way to connect and have a more fluid understanding of someone say is done is the best way we can plant churches in the city, the house, church network, the megachurch, the community church, the traditional church, some new form of sail church.
Then I should say yes. Do you hear what I'm saying? I think that's what the course shows. The course does not say. Is there anyone here? I'm very curious. Is there anyone here who could really, based on their understanding of all the elements, say that I think that this is the element. I'd love to hear that. I'd love to hear that argument not to put down. I'm very where of you cite it now regarding urban America. And the models of church planning movements. Could somebody give us in two senses their view of how we can best do this thing? Anybody. I mean, I know you have an opinion of some kind. Yes. Yeah. Si, si, si. What's the container to put those things in? That's my question here. What's the container? And just say that somebody just ask you because they want to know, Oh, you took a course on and you said, okay, the very things that you see, the very things that. Now, how would you then. They're all they're all they've got their notepad now inform them on the model that we should use to contain them. All of these are forms of church record wood burning set banners. Important because he see that the forms of church that we have, we made up. And he's right. Isn't he right? He's right. I have no problem saying that. I'm saying that some are tied to tradition. Some are informed by the apostolic experience. Some are deeply rooted in history. Some are just completely American and have to do with postmodern relativism and sort of privatize individualism. Borrow a view of churches as one an individual. I think that's not even New Testament. So so my question is to try to flush out what are the what are the principles that underlie the sort of understandings that we have now.
Art, can we can we isolate the way Trinitarian scholars isolate for us the three principles of Trinitarian truth? Here it is. Right here it is. But it is a denial of the Trinity. If it does not believe in the oneness, the equality and the diversity of the persons in the God, He. As a matter of fact, the historical heresies regarding regarding the Trinity are all heretical combinations where one of those things or or did not. That's really what heresy is. It leaves out something important. So what I'm asking you now, give me the formula for urban church claim. You've taken the course. Does. But I'll tell you what. What you just said regarding Jesus. What were those? Those? Well, see you. You're in good company. I mean, have two of those scenes were the reform markers, right? The word in the sacraments and then discipline me, whatever, you know, but. Hey. Yeah, I mean, you could just say, Jesus, isn't it? Some of us would say this. It would mean much more. But the point is, is that all of this sort of hubbub about stuff is that it matters to me the way I put ideas together in the way I think about them. If I leave something out of my sort of pattern, that's why I am so that's I read these books very hungrily, looking for what are the elements that these what are the absolute elements they can give me? So I can take those elements, go to the inner city of Boston or New York or here in Wichita, and plant churches, hundreds of them. That's the way I read this deliberately. It was not just to read it to to if God wanted me to be the next c h Mason in the end to found a denomination like the Church of God in Christ.
And he gave me that burden. Don, I want you to plant thousands of churches. Guys, do you know that since the Azusa Street Revival, the Assemblies of God met in Denver a couple of weeks ago and I mentioned this, they went from a few wild, crazy sort of folk on Azusa Street to over 13,000 congregations now 13,000 and just robust. Now, don't we want that? I would like perfect peace to not just have one church. I like you to be a bishop. I like that to be 50 churches, all of them strong, healthy, vital, clear with good leaders. And we don't we want that for we don't want just like one little struggling church, that's all, you know, all life support and tubes and it snows. And, you know, as we look at our it's looking pretty bad. We want we want churches to grow and multiply. So this is what this is for me. This isn't just intellectual. I'm really trying to find out if there is a formula. What is it? I'm asking you if you found anything. This is our last class. This is your chance. We'll see. What I am looking for is that list. That's the list that is important for you. If you leave this class without having your own list, you say you're going to go on Nightline tomorrow and some big puffy eared guy you know is going to ask you about. Can you give me your understanding of what you know? Church is a great movement. There are thousands of churches we hear that you have now the secret to planning thousands of churches in the poorest communities. Matt, would you tell us what those things are? Where would we begin if we wanted to do that? I mean, what would we say? I think that Matt's answer is very, Do you know anything about Garrison in baptism? What is baptism in anything, he said.
I don't I don't have any idea if baptism has any part at all. What about the Lord's Supper in these churches? In a plant? I'm. I'm just asking. Did you read anything? I don't see how he can. Really. To me, that's just not acceptable. I'm sorry. I'm just at this point, this last class, we're going to leave. There's going to be no break. I just think it's wrong. If we can't bring people in through repentance and faith and baptism and sharing in the church. I don't know if they're saying I don't know what that is. But at the same time, I don't want to be naive in thinking that just because you confess all things that's equated with you using your gifts, discovering them, working and doing the mission of the work of the church. And so I think the problem there with these two is, is that there's a tendency to either focus just on having people get in right. And ignoring who they are after they are in. In other words, I think it's very, very important that we formally incorporate new members into a structure called church. They should know if they're outside it or inside. But once they are inside it, then we have to really concentrate on their vital spiritual expression, their learning, their gifts and whatever. And so to me, at the top of page seven, I think at least on these two membership and discipleship, I just want you to know that BART just eliminated membership from discipleship. That's the point here. I'm saying that is just not valid. He fell off. There is there is there a discipleship without membership? That's what this point is. And I'm saying no. I'm saying that if you don't want to repent, be baptized with other believers and associate with them, then you probably are either a very uninformed Christian or you're not Christian.
No, I'm just. I'm hustling. I'm looking at you guys. You know, you're saying, please don't hurry. So we can. We can get out of here. The third concept, your organic dynamism through relationships alongside clear, definite organizational structures. I don't think it's one or the other. You recall Crider? Crider said that the church is about relationships, not about structure. I just think he's dead wrong. I'm just. I'm just cleaning up my my own issues. Here you are the definition of the peer. I think we have to strive to see that effect of spirituality, of mission occurs in the context of of organic relationships rooted in the Spirit's leading, as well as formal organizational structures that are governed by clear, specific, enforced protocols, policies and processes. To me, I think that I can you can only lead thousands of churches if you have some sort of clearly stated standards and processes and protocols. Now, what those are, dear friends, I think that let's play on the playground some some would say few, some would say many. But I'm saying that you have to have some. You can't have nothing, no organization. I don't really. I'm telling you at this point, after reading Garrison and having no sense having been able to get no sense of the organizational structure of these churches, I don't see how Garrison could really honestly defend the claim that all his Baptist missionaries were doing in some of these places is gathering groups of very of Christians who really, as far as I could tell, had very little input in their leaders. Very little. I mean, I'm just again, if you guys have a different view, I'd like to know. I'm really trying to find that where where he mentioned leaders. It was good, but there was no structure.
I didn't get any sense that there was any genuine connection. And let me say this before Stacy answers Critter's view of the autonomous church seems to me to be of the pale. I don't know what that would lead to in urban America if thousands and tens of thousands of churches were absolutely autonomous. I don't know what that would be. I don't know. I think you would, frankly just be gathering people for the wolf to just eat them. All the Jehovah's Witnesses take communion once a year, and not everybody in their communion does just the 144,000. No, they're the only ones. It's a weird service. I'm kidding. I kid you not. All the rest of us call Jonah Dabbs. Just sit there. No. Okay. I know this is cool. So, you know, I mean, this is. But. But what if one of these little churches decided to have communion once a year? What if what have we decided that we didn't like? Communion is sort of. You know, we're sort of done with that kind of. I'm just saying that he should have done that is all I'm saying. He just should have told us and really cried when the rest of the guys. I mean, I just think you shouldn't talk about church planning unless you talk about structures to help Christians get baptized. Take the Lord's Supper and tell us how we're going to do it and tell us what what it means. And all of these things are important. Yes. Care. Yes. See, I would say that there is all this room to play. This is this is. This is play. I am like Cryder. I cannot love church in all these churches. I preach in an Orthodox churches. I title vestments and preach in Catholic masses.
I love church in all these forms. As long as there's an A and there's a B. If you take that for me, I don't know what we got and I really, truly don't know what we. You got to give me some help. I don't want to just be left out. I want to say that, yes, there was there's real evidence in the Bible of structure. It was apostolic. Paul could talk about it. Your churches, your 700 or 4000 should have some sort of structure. That's all I'm saying. I'm not saying I'm not telling him how to structure it. I hope you don't hear me being that dominant. Yeah, well, see, that's what I'm saying. You hear guys say, you know, we're about relationships, not about structure. And people say, Yeah, that's great. Well, you know, let let there be. Let there be in Rob Bill's church or Rob you let me borrow his book. He is pastor to 10,000 people. He has five. He has 500. This is the honest truth. 500 small groups in his church. When I went to preach at his church, he invited me to a baptism service and baptize dozens and dozens and dozens of people. Now, don't tell me that those individual Christians don't need to be followed. How are you going to organize this so you won't just leave these little babies on their own? Is that success? Have given the big church, what, 10,000 people and hundreds coming up front and no plan to cycle them or raise their families. Just turn it off, Dan, if you have to. I'm just. I'll just finish this up and we'll be done. My only point is that as a pastor, as a missionary, as a scholar, these things are important to me.
I really need to know how you intend on feeding Christians. You need to tell me what your structure is. If God were to give us what we want in the world and how what we structure say God gave us 1500 churches, met 1500. I'm not talking and I mean thousands. I say he gave us what? What God gave Sharif and the Muslim movement. 4000 churches in ten years. 150,000 converts. How would we order them? How would we structure them? How would we feed them? What is follow up in those churches? I would. I mean, I just think that's important. I really do. I just I think that's all this principle is. Number four. Very quickly, the universal priesthood of all believers, alongside apostolic oversight of the churches. God gave apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers. And quite honestly, we shouldn't have church planning that doesn't involve those. Let's just make it plain. We have to practice the universal priesthood. I want all believers to pray and share and witness and work. But at the same time, we need real apostolic governance and authority over all church planning movement and pastoral authority over every single individual congregation. I will say that this is where I will say that. Give us some shine. I don't remember a single sentence in Garrison where he didn't say that these churches didn't have leaders. As a matter of fact, Garrison, is that that's the home run for me with him. He absolutely convinced me that where these movements take place, God raises of leaders to take the work and make it real. It means you are. The problem here is that we can tend to see the universal priesthood as the sole principle of organizing body life, where we'll just gather believers together.
And that'll be enough. Or we can oversize governance and legitimate apostolic authority to a point where we just we just ignore the universal ministry. I think we have to affirm both the role of believers as gifted ministers, as well as godly, dynamic authority, strong apostolic leaders who can protect, serve and lead. These are not new. Number five is pretty plain. Indigenous leadership alongside cross-cultural ministry. I don't think that any sort of focus on Indigenous leaders at the top of Pgx is going to make the cross-cultural missionary obsolete. As a matter of fact, I think that the problem here is the tendency to define legitimate spiritual effort and energy only in terms of indigenously led and focused work. Quite literally, Indigenous leaders can begin to expand once there has been some sort of genuine cross-cultural apostolic input. That's why God has called. I just believe that this is my this is my ode to our ministry. I don't think no matter how powerful we go to brand new people groups and seek to really do ministry there, the critical role for Indigenous leaders will never supplant the need for godly cross-cultural missionaries to multiply and facilitate those movements. We will always need both. That's just, you know, and you can see how you can fall off that cliff. Early in our our church planning, we were on one side or the other. We were always sort of, you know, tumble very quickly. My last three things, the complementary concept of mass of prayer. You mentioned this mat. I think that alongside prayer, it has to be aggressive, flexible, missional strategies, plans and projects. If you look at Paul carefully, he had both. And the problem at the top of page nine, there's a tendency to either focus to make this battle completely invisible and spiritual warfare that underlies the mission and to completely neglect, planning, execution and review of missionary strategies, models and projects.
You just don't need the book of Acts. The Book of Acts shows that both of them were present focus massive intercession alongside real, genuine, clear headed stewardship of time and gifts and resources to win. The seventh principle, the seventh sort of complimentary prayer for me is personal caregiving and spiritual parenting, and then standardized formal instruction in the basics of the church. It seems to me we need to parent newborns and we also need to send them to kindergarten. That's essentially what that is. I mean, we need we need, we need. We need both. We agree with Crider, but Crider in some way didn't give us a sense that there was a catacomb in in the early church. I would like every single convert and every movement that we were part of to know everything that we wanted them to know. At a certain age, the other faith, the only way you can get that is that you have to create a standardized, formal instruction in the basics of the faith.