How can church leaders prepare themselves and their churches?
The rise of church planting fervor within many streams of evangelicalism leads us to a question: Is it possible that we will see a church planting movement in North America? We read Luke’s account of the spread of the church in the Book of Acts and dream of being a part of such a movement today. We are drawn to stories of the church spreading like kudzu in places like India or China or Latin America and imagine the same happening in Boston, LA, Toronto, and everywhere in between.
Opinions about this question abound. Societies defined by a high degree of homogeneity are most often the context for expansive and rapid church planting movements. North America, in its complexity and diversity, seems missiologically unlikely for a parallel movement. But God is quite capable of prompting a movement, even if no sociological factors would suggest that such is possible. He excels in confounding human logic and accomplishing his mission in such a way that he gets maximum glory.
And, even if the homogeneity assessment is accurate and it is unlikely that we will see a large sweeping movement, I am convinced that we are poised to see numerous church planting movements emerge across North America from the most unexpected places. As I observe a shift in church culture—from the selfishness of addition to selflessness of multiplication—I am seeing numerous leaders leaning hard on leveraging their church for rapid reproduction.
So, with all these encouraging signs, how can church leaders prepare themselves and their churches to participate in North America’s future movements? Here are some common characteristics.
Movements require a perspective larger than any single church. In fact, movements by their very nature ...