Back at home and trying to get back in the groove of things. As I reflect on my time at the World Convention of the Christian Church, one of the things that niggles me is that ostensibly the purpose of our meeting was to help instill unity amongst the three strands of the Campbelite movement (the Church of Christ (non-instrumentalist/a capella), the Disciples of Christ, and the independent Christian Church). There was some good talk about unity, but I didn’t notice a lot of progress in that vein as I attended a variety of seminars. For instance, Gailyn Van Rheenan of MissionAlive, a church planting support ministry, presented his church planting process. His methods are much like what I recommend when working with an individual who is going into church planting with minimal funding … start with small groups, develop committed disciples of Jesus, and then move into the public launch when you have a core of 60 or more.
It’s a good model. Not the only good model, but a good one nonetheless. But there were those there who were from a different strand and were narrow-minded enough to be dismissive of this model because it didn’t start with a large team, didn’t emphasize public worship from the beginning, and didn’t depend on marketing to create a launch. I’m okay with folks disagreeing with what’s best for a particular setting, but not only to dismiss, but to be dismissive, of a model that is working (Van Rheenan helped start 150 churches in Africa and has several church planting teams in the US now) … well, that’s not alright. Rather, it’s clearly the workings of a very teeny tiny mind.
Teeny Tiny Thinking is a real issue in North America. As a church, we don’t believe big enough. We struggle to raise $5000 for a worth ministry project and forget that it’s nearly as easy to raise $1 million. Really it is … but you have to have a BHAG, a Big Hairy Audacious Goal … and you have to believe in it enough that your heart and mind and soul sing. BHAGs are God-Sized visions, not little teeny tiny thinking visions.
Unity? That’s a nice goal, but the last time I checked, that seems to be a minimum expectation in the New Testament, as a quick read through John 17 and Ephesians quickly reveals. So, let’s get over our teeny tiny thinking and ponder on what God might have in mind. Like getting serious about multiplying disciples of Jesus regardless of which denomination gets the credit … or even gets the “member” for their rolls.
I’m curious, what kind of BHAGs do you carry around with you? What’s propelling you to the next level?