How to Replant a Church, Part 5: Rally Your Troops
Thu Mar 06, 2014
by Bubba Jennings
The 4 Pillars of Pastoral Work
Thu Mar 06, 2014
by Dave Bruskas
10 Ideas For Keeping Lent
Wed Mar 05, 2014
by Winfield Bevins
How an Executive Pastor Frees the Lead Pastor to Do What Only He Can Do
Tue Mar 04, 2014
by Sutton Turner
Resurgence Leadership #006: Matt Chandler on Holy Ambition
Tue Mar 04, 2014
Bleak Odds: The Inner-City Church Plant
I can still hear Mark Driscoll in his distinct “Driscoll voice” saying, “Mase, most of us started the churches God has called us to lead on even ground with some decent soil. But you had to start planting by removing parched soil, getting healthy soil in the place of the parched, planting seeds, and fighting a harsh environment just to get things up and running" (paraphrase).
Location, location, location
The reality of planting in a poverty-stricken context with chronic and toxic issues on every level that are glazed over, 90% absence of fathers, Orthodox Sunni Islam as the most-respected religion, and gospel under-engagement, is overwhelming.
In addition, the transformation that is happening is not only temporal, but also transient. Transient because people are not on their way to North Philly, or Philadelphia, for that matter. You either grew up here, came here for school, or are here on a temporary work assignment.
The question is not whether there is potential for healthy churches to be planted in these contexts. The question is, will those of us standing on the sidelines fearful for our “livelihood” use some lame excuse to continue to walk by sight instead of walking by faith?
Jesus works in every context
One of the most fascinating things in Scripture is the apostles' passion to see trans-contextual stability in all the churches (Romans 16:25). No matter the context, as new disciples were added to the church, the desire of the apostles was an unwavering commitment to Jesus that bore fruit of that reality in every area of their lives.
Don't fear the stats
The urban planter hears stats that say rapid growth is a pipe dream, that seeing 100 transformed worshippers takes years, that financial self-support may never be a reality—and it makes one gun-shy of walking by faith to see the inner-city as an option to engage as a mission field. However, these contexts and organic influences of global culture through many forms of art, economic focus groups, and residential refocusing initiatives, are targets for some of America’s most famous Fortune 500 companies' business strategies.
The question is, will those of us standing on the sidelines fearful for our “livelihood” use some lame excuse to continue to walk by sight versus walking by faith?
The 2007 edition of The Buying Power of Black America stated that $744 billion in income was spent on apparel, entertainment, food, beverages, toys, computers, cosmetics, automobiles, travel, and dozens of other categories.
Buyers included in this dollar amount are the same lost people we are trying to reach. I am not suggesting we adopt the strategies and practices of marketing departments of Fortune 500 companies, but they see more potential (although unredemptive) in the same apparently unreachable neighborhoods than God’s missional squad leaders do.
God's work is never in vain
1 Corinthians 15:58, says “Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.” This is for real life and ministry. God’s scoring system of success is so much sweeter than ours if we measure it by faithfulness to the character and heart of his goals.
For more resources from Pastor Eric, check out his urban ministry Thriving