By Dave Miller
Dr. Bruce Carlton contributed 8 Key Principles in Cross-Cultural Church Planting. Building further from those core starting blocks, one must build strategy and direction for a particular calling or focus. However building strategy is not intuitive in the kingdom of God. In a Western context we usually determine a particular desired outcome and work backwards when developing strategy. Yet in the Kingdom, God determines the outcome and our job is to respond to His work as we push forward. To say it simply (and borrowed from Bruce), "Take care of DNA and multiplication will take care of itself."
Take care of DNA and multiplication will take care of itself.
Strategy in reproducing pioneer church planting requires embedding DNA in our disciples and teaching them to respond to the Spirit’s leading. I suggest 5 Core Elements for Establishing Reproducing DNA in Pioneer Church Planting:
1. A God-called individual with a God-given vision for a God-given focus.
Any movement of the Kingdom requires a focused, God-sized vision. It is the Father’s heart that none should perish but that all should come to repentance. When God gives a pioneer church planting vision it is for the purpose of spreading the Gospel until there is #NoPlaceLeft where the gospel has not been proclaimed. The Apostle Paul knew he was God’s apostle to the Gentiles and nothing could deter him from that mission.
2. Simple reproducing tools for ministry.
Followers of Jesus need to be equipped to do the work of the ministry. Tools such as the #3Circles gospel presentation give Jesus’ people the starting block they need to build confidence in Kingdom work. Our tools must be simple in order to be used. Complexity hinders competence and decreases practice. Our tools must also be reproducing. If only a handful of people can reproduce our training then we need to simplify until the tools become reproducing. When Jesus’s disciples asked him to teach them to pray he taught them a simple but profound prayer.
3. A Great Commission identity among all believers.
Churches and disciples reproduce when they understand their place in the movement of Jesus and His gospel to the ends of the earth. A Great Commission identity can only be received from the Holy Spirit, but a continual emphasis on this expectation from every Christian creates an environment where listening to the Spirit’s promptings is encouraged. Jesus said, “You will be my witnesses when the Holy Spirit comes upon you.”
4. More Spirit-empowered Laborers.
The harvest is plentiful but the laborers are few. The more the seed of the Gospel is sown, the more we will see others repent and believe in Jesus. Reproduction in the kingdom requires an ever increasing number of seed sowers. Seed sowers who have a Great Commission identity, are trained in simple reproducing tools, and are encouraged to listen to the Spirit’s leadership will eventually see the Kingdom expand.
5. An accountability to obey Jesus and his commands.
Simple goals that encourage followers to listen to Jesus through the Word led by the His Spirit keep the two-fold focus: becoming like Jesus and completing the mission of Jesus to the ends of the earth. The completion of the Great Commission will never move beyond the next step an individual takes in obedience to Jesus. Jesus said, “If you love me you will obey what I command.”
Below is a Sustainability Matrix that helps diagnose the outcomes experienced in the work of pioneering church planting. The matrix is not intended to be authoritative, simply a coaching tool to provoke thought and problem solving as we follow the leadership of the Holy Spirit and the Word of God.
Until there’s #NoPlaceLeft...