Of all the lessons I am learning through training at Harvest, the one which stands out most prominently is “church planting is hard”. The statistics are dismal and the stories are disheartening because church plants fail all the time. They fail so often its hard to accurately account for how many fail because they often don’t survive long enough to be counted. Some say 80%, others say 65%, either way, the numbers are not encouraging. So why am I telling you this?
Because I believe God wants to overcome these odds and dismal prospects in a way that brings glory to Him. I believe God wants to show off in Ventura and I am praying God would use us to do it. The first step is gathering a core group of collaborating, Christ-lovers, who want to see Him at work in their lives and the community.
Every Core Group Member Must Be:
Compelled- The only suitable motivation for church planting is the glory of God. There is nothing else that will drive you to do such a work. Core group members must be driven to do God’s work and to see Him glorified in a community by a clear vision of His worthiness and significance. Anything less will not suffice.
Contagious- God has given you relationships through which to expose people to the Gospel at work in you. These contacts are God’s means to grow the church. God has chosen to use us as His ambassadors into a fallen and depraved world. We cannot hide in our houses. We cannot avoid the lost of this world. Instead, like Christ, we seek them. To seek something is to actively and purposefully pursue something. So I ask you who are you actively and purposefully pursuing for Christ?
Committed- Planting a church is a life-time commitment. It is also a life-enveloping commitment. A Core group member is committed to doing what it takes to see the job done. Whether its 5 years of setting up chairs and sound equipment or 3 years of core group leading, we are looking for people to commit for the long haul. Because God works supernaturally through the steady and persistent service of His people. He shows His glory when something survives through the long haul, despite all odds. Perhaps, in the past, you attended a church. Well, that is no longer good enough. We are looking for people who are committed to Christ and His glory in the church.
Courageous- This work we are starting is going to be stretching us all. We are going to be called to extend ourselves and our faith by doing things that we never imagined. We will serve in capacities to which we are not inclined. We will have to confront situations that we never have had before. We will be traveling into unknown territory with unknown enemies and our only comfort will be that God is with us. And that is enough.
Beyond all, the most important character of the planting core group is “prayerfulness”. Because, at the center of every successful church plant, is a work of God which is disproportionate to its core group. Our prayer is that God would use us to do a work in Ventura that no one else could dare take credit for. So, this is a call for the core group that has begun to form in Ventura, to pray for God to do an amazing, supernatural work in our presence. After all who wants to start a church without God?