Guy, Great insight on church planting! Thank you for posting and may the Lord continue to bless your ministry as you plant churches for the Kingdom!
Church planting lessons from Guy Muse
1) Work with what you have on hand.
In Jesus miracle of the five loaves and two fish, he asked the
disciples what they had on hand. Of course five loaves and two fish were
not nearly enough to feed 5000, but when turned over to Jesus, He
blessed those few loaves and fish so that they fed thousands. The same
hold true in church planting. Start with what you have and turn it over
to the Lord and watch him multiply the “little” into “much.”
2) The importance of a few key details.
The difference between success and failure in church planting often
hinges on attention to a few key details. For us, it is vitally
important that within 48 hours of someone making a decision to follow
Christ that we begin the discipleship process with them. Another is
baptizing new converts as soon as possible. Ongoing relationship and
mutual nurturing of leaders within an accountability group of fellow
believers is another biggie.
3) Materials are not the key. The
most frequent question people inquire about is what materials we use.
“Show us your materials.” This is the least relevant thing and yet is
what everyone thinks is the key to a successful church plant. Just get
the right materials and voila
you get a church planted. Not so. What is important is the person’s
perseverance through the ups and downs of planting a church. Knowing
how to effectively use a few
simple tools (materials) can carry them a long way and is an important
part of training, but nothing takes the place of an inner drive and love
for the Kingdom.
4) “Just do it.” Nike’s
slogan is ours too. Don’t wait to have all the answers before
beginning. It is better to just get out there and start something, than
to stand back waiting for further clarification, more training, and for
conditions to be just right. The best way to learn is to get out there
and “just do it.” Yes, mistakes will be made, but seldom are mistakes
fatal to the overall work if the heart is right. The grass is NOT
greener on the other side of the road. It is no harder to plant a church
where God has placed you, than it is for someone else in another
5) Pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers. Once
you settle that He is the one who does the calling, then it becomes
important to accept those he sends, regardless of the initial
unpromising impression these folks might make upon you. Over and over
it has been the “least promising” individuals who have panned out, while
the really sharp, cool, educated dudes fizzle along the way. In our
network of house church leaders there isn’t a single leader who stands
out as a model church planter. ALL are quite common folks–like you and
6) Dealing with the “authority” issue of who can plant a church.
Many are looking for authorization or blessing from their pastor,
denomination, an ordination council, or respected leaders to give them
the “green light.” If there is any doubt in the mind of the novice
church planter that he/she has the authority to plant a church, they
will not do so. If, however, they understand their authority comes directly from Jesus,
they will be mightily used of the Lord. Every church planter needs to
settle in their hearts and minds that Jesus is the source of their
authority issues. “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth [therefore] go…make disciples…baptizing…teaching them to observe all that I commanded you…” One of my roles as a missionary is empowering people to do those things that Christ has already empowered them to do!
7) Have a clear idea of what it is that needs to be done. Many
of our folks see themselves as simply “evangelists” and are out trying
to win a few to Christ. Once they get it into their heads that they are apostolic church planters,
fully invested with the authority to do ALL that such an undertaking
entails–baptizing, serving Lord’s Supper, counseling, teaching, praying
for the sick, planting a church, etc.–they are transformed into
amazing vessels for the Master’s use.
8) Simplicity. This one cannot be emphasized enough. Neil Cole simply says, “Simple is transferable, complex breaks down.” He goes on to say, “Simplicity
is the key to the fulfillment of the Great Commission in this
generation. If the process is complex, it will break down early in the
trasference to the next generation of disciples. The more complex the
process, the greater the giftedness needed to keep it going. The
simpler the process, the more available it is to the broader Christian
populace.” Almost every mistake we have made in the church
planting process can be boiled down to our making things more
complicated than people can actually handle. I have the tendency to
think “more” is better, but “less” is always more in the long
run. This certainly applies to church. The more simple church is made
to be, the more likely it will take root and grow. The more complex we
make it, the more likely it will fail.
boy, howdy! Did I need to read that! Thanks
Great stuff. I especially like the last point, what we used to call the K.I.S.S. Principle (Keep It Simple, Saint!)…