“How do we avoid a “manifest destiny” attitude when planting in an area that already has churches in it? In other words, how do we show that we want to work WITH other local churches as opposed to doing things BETTER than those local churches?
I want to suggest a two pronged approach:
1. Approach the existing churches in your community with HUMILITY. I believe that almost every area of the United States needs new churches. The harvest is plentiful and the workers are few. A vast majority of the established churches are struggling and are writing the final chapters of their history. The need for new churches to replace these churches is without question; not to mention the need for new churches that will reach new people groups and meet the increasingly diverse needs of a new generation. BUT, to come into a community with arrogance, insensitivity, or hubris is inexcusable.
2. COLLABORATION is the other part of this strategy. Church planting is the single most effective way to help established churches activate their missional heartbeat and grow numerically and spiritually. Luminex Church Planting Collaboratives are coalitions of three to five churches in an area who are working together to parent a new congregation in their own back yard. Tim Keller writes: “The vigorous, continual planting of new congregations is the single most crucial strategy for (1) the numerical growth of the body of Christ in a city and (2) the continual corporate renewal and revival of the existing churches in a city. Nothing else—not crusades, outreach programs, parachurch ministries, growing mega- churches, congregational consulting, nor church renewal processes—will have the consistent impact of dynamic, extensive church planting. This is an eyebrow-raising statement, but to those who have done any study at all, it is not even controversial.”
What do you think? How can new churches respect and work with established churches in their communities?
Doug McClintic, Luminex Church Multiplication Catalyst
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