As promised in the last post, I want to share some of the nuggets I gleaned from David Garrison’s book, Church Planting Movements: How God is Redeeming a Lost World. Here are several quotes from the book, with my commentary following each quote.
- “Bad people make good soil, there’s lots of fertilizer in their lives!”
When we look at someone who does not know Christ and think, “There’s no way this person would be receptive to the gospel,” we are telling more about our own lack of faith than about the power of the gospel. The gospel makes dead men live. Where sin abounds grace does more abound. The bigger the mess, the more powerful the message! The greater the test, the more powerful the testimony!
- “Two kinds of lost people: moths and cockroaches. The way to tell the difference is to turn the light on – the moths will be drawn to the light and the cockroaches will flee.”
This statement might seem cold or brash. But it is not. And it is scriptural! Jesus said, “This is the verdict, that light has entered the world and men loved the darkness instead of light.” This is the universal truth: unless God opens our eyes, we will reject Him and accept almost anything else as a substitute. To find those whom God is drawing to Himself, we must turn the light of the gospel on. Those who respond are the ones God is helping to come to Himself (“the elect”.) Those who don’t aren’t (at least presently). Don’t waste your time or theirs by trying to convince cockroaches to come to the light! Focus on the moths. Only God can turn a cockroaches into a moth. When you see the moth showing interest in the things of God, you know you are seeing the ones that God Himself is drawing!
- “We must lower the bar of how we do church, raise the bar of what it means to be a disciple of Christ and thus we will raise the standard of what church truly is.”
Can you track with Garrison here? Lowering the bar of how we “do” church means that we no longer wait for the professionals to do all the ministry! We release even brand new believers to be involved in ministry and mission. Raising the bar of what it means to be a disciple means that we get back to the goal of the real discipleship Jesus taught: loving obedience. It’s not simply the transfer of information that is needed (contrary to most western church models). We need the transformation of our character and wills that comes by humble obedience to Christ and His commands. As we do these things a victorious church will arise.
- “We must raise leaders for the harvest from the harvest, and all the resources for an abundant harvest are in the harvest.”
Another way of stating this is that the church always grows faster and more efficiently from the outside-in, not the inside-out. So often leaders wait for long-time insiders to finally mature enough to move out in mission. But the longer a believer exists without really being involved in the harvest, the less likely that they ever will! The longer a home group or church exists without multiplying, the less likely it ever will.
The more effective way is to win new believers and immediately train them and release them into the harvest. Their primary circle of friends are ALL lost people. These new believers are the only ones with enough influence to really reach into these lost clusters of people! Furthermore, the answer to most church budget problems is to reach new people! Jesus once sent Simon Peter to the lake to catch a fish. He told him to throw in a line and pull up the first fish. In its mouth would be a coin. Sure enough, as Peter obeyed and went fishing, he caught a fish with a gold coin in its mouth. With this coin Peter paid the Temple tax for himself and Jesus. The resources we presently need are in the harvest. Putting off the harvest while we wait for resources is a dead end.
Get the book.