Why We Need a Missiological Edge in Church Planting

Bigger and better AND deeper and further

North American church planting has grown up a lot since I first planted in 1988 as a 20-year-old who grew a beard to look older.

You’ll often hear those of us who planted churches 30 years ago lament to church planters today about how little we had in terms of resources and training—especially compared to what’s available to them now.

It almost seems bizarre to me—I had a series of cassette tapes, a notebook, and some training.

Today, there are dozens, if not hundreds, of conferences and gatherings each year that in some way act as trade shows for what’s become a religious industry. At these gatherings, you can walk by a vendor booth and get help on how to do church in a box or how to scale your campuses or start your own network. There’s curriculum offered, resources being sold, and even legal help available.

I’m glad we have so many resources, and I’ve contributed to it becoming an industry, so it would be a bit hypocritical for me to sell a church planting course and book and then critique others.

However, I wonder, When you go from Bob Logan’s cassette tapes back in the day, to an industry in 2018, how do you not lose the missiological edge in thoughtfulness and give into what Peruvian missiologist Samuel Escobar called managerial missions[1]? The industry of church planting helped maintain a steady stream of church planting in North America. But, now, imagine entering a post-industrial age in church planting where we need greater theological, sociological, and organizational reflection to move us forward in mission.

How do we not just think bigger and better in North American church planting? But how do we think deeper and further ahead as well?

That’s one of the ...

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