03 October 2010

THOUGHT - Planting the seed

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As we have already seen in previous posts on church planting, a seed has been found and the ground is prepared and ready. But how do we go about sowing the seed?

A young seedling in the soilWe should remember that the plant that will grow is not an individual, but a church. It will be composed of individuals and it may be quite small, even as small as two or three people. The maximum is probably about twenty, but such a large number is less likely.

Father has remarkable ways of arranging things. Jesus said quite clearly, 'I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it.' It might well be that he is already building this particular manifestation of his church. Planting a church may already have been done, in secret, by the Lord himself.

Remember that the person (seed) that we are working with is a hospitable, open, caring sort of person. They will already have a community around them, perhaps family, friends, work colleagues, neighbours or a mixture of all four. This community or part of it may itself become church. So the work you will be doing might be planting a church or it might just be recognising the baby church that is already there.

Now do you see the importance of not attempting to draw the person into your existing church? That would just add one person to a group. Instead there is a golden opportunity to add an entire new group. If this is what Yahshua is telling you to do - don't miss it!

It would be foolish to prescribe a church planting method or a series of steps to perform, but there are one or two guidelines. Planting a church is just as much a miracle as is the establishment of a plant in a field. We know that it grows, but we have no idea how. What we can do is encourage the growth as much as possible.

So encourage the person you are working with to share their story with their natural community. They'll listen to someone they know far more attentively than to a stranger. Meet with them and be prepared to answer questions, but don't bring a list of topics to be covered. Be available, but be careful not to meet with them every time, especially so as the new church begins to be established and finds its feet. Give them space to discover for themselves. Their roots are in what Jesus will reveal to them, not in anything you might say.

Encourage them to listen to Jesus, they can do this by reading the gospels together and sharing their thoughts on what he said and did. They need to be willing to put what they learn into practice, they can pray for one another and help one another with practical aspects of their lives. They can begin to eat meals together, do things together, and read Acts and the New Testament letters to find out how church worked in the early years. Again they should begin to put these things into practice. The emphasis will naturally be on loving the Father, loving Jesus, loving one another, and loving those around them.

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