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The Deceit Of Riches (via Mez McConnell)

Mez McConnell reflects on Jesus observation about wealth being an obstruction to entering the kingdom of God and the implications of that for evangelism and church planting:

The Danger of Wealth
Jesus said it’s easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God, right? What he’s saying is this: When you’ve got money, when you’ve got material wealth, when you’ve got comfort, you feel invincible. You feel like you don’t need God. You don’t feel—at least in your outward portrayal—a spiritual need.
And so people become very hard, very bitter, very intellectually opposed to gospel truths. Whereas in less privileged communities, people are not necessarily happy, but they are more likely to admit they’re sinful, to admit that their lives aren’t perfect, to admit there’s a problem.
People in poor or ethically deprived communities are very supernaturalistic, so you meet very few atheists in such communities. These people’s problems aren’t necessarily with God (although they can be), but with the concept of church. People in that community see the church as a middle-class intellectual institution—which it largely is—and so apologetically, that’s the battle we’re fighting.
I think people in rich communities—with two cars on the drive, a nice house, and a full bank balance—in many ways are much harder to reach because all that wealth and comfort makes them think that they’re invincible. It may make them think that they don’t need anything outside of themselves. I often say that in many ways, my friends who work, reach, and plant in these communities are in very, very hard places.

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Can Multi-Site Work In A Rural Context? (via Jon Sanders at The Exchange)

Since I’m currently overseeing three neighboring churches the question “Can Mulit-Site Work In A Rural Context” is on my mind a fair bit.
Realistically, the be only option for outside ministry to come and work with those three locations would involve one person, maybe in two of them.
Jon Sanders, who is bi-vocational, also works in multi-site rural contexts.

He offers some counsel, including:

You need a commitment to excellence.
I realize the term excellence is kind of a buzzword that came out of the church growth movement and some people are beginning to grow weary of it. But I still believe we serve an excellent God who is worthy of our very best. If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing to the best of our ability. I believe excellence is simply giving God our very best with what he has given us to work with.
Therefore, excellence doesn’t have to be synonymous with expensive. It’s holding a high standard to take what resources we do have to create the best product we possibly can. The way a rural church will do multi-site (especially when it comes to staffing and technology) will look very different from how a mega-church does it. But that doesn’t mean a rural church has to come off looking sloppy and unprepared. It’s totally possible for a small church with limited resources to produce an excellent worship experience in multiple locations.

Read the rest of the post here.


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Why Your Church Is Not Exempt from the Work of Church Planting (via Thabiti Anyabwile)

As a local church leadership in a country town we’re exploring again how we express the need to support the growth of healthy churches in other places.
I believe doing so is an integral marker of a healthy church.

From Thabiti Anyabwile.

Every Neighborhood, Every Neighbor
I believe it’s important that every local church, in some way, focuses on church planting. As local churches, we don’t want to be concerned with the gospel only in our context. We actually want to see the gospel advance.
A New Testament pattern for the advance of the gospel is the planting of churches. We want to see every neighborhood and every neighbor brought into contact with the living Word of God. For that to happen, we have to have outposts in every neighborhood, in reachable contact of every neighbor. The New Testament word for those outposts is the local church.
An application-intensive approach to seeking out and developing qualified church leaders. Thoughtful analysis of key passages in Acts and 1 Timothy are balanced with practical action points in a contemporary context.
Every church, if it exists in the same spirit and shares the same DNA as the early church, should have a burning concern to see itself multiply, extend, and spread to the ends of the earth until everybody hears and the Lord comes.

Source.


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Church Planting Churches In Tasmania (via Mikey Lynch)

This post by Mikey Lynch lays out the progress of The Vision 100 Network in Tasmania.
In it he explains the rationale, progress and lessons learned in a network of church planting local churches.
It’s very encouraging and informative.
Read Tasmania’s Vision For Hub Churches at Christian Reflections.


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There’s Never A Good Time To Plant A Church – Do It Anyway (via Ed Stetzer)

I think all local churches should have an active expression of support in another church which is growing toward viability.
I don’t think local churches should outsource this support to their denomination.
Being supportive of a growing church helps a local church actively think about what it is doing to grow. It’s hard to pray for and celebrate another church’s growth and resist attitudes that nurture growth in your own context.
If a local church is not involved in some aspect of planting they should clearly know why they aren’t instead of thinking that being involved in one is the irregular state.

Ed Stetzer had a whole post about why churches should plant, but this paragraph particularly appealed to me.

There’s never a good time to plant a church – do it anyway.
I just gave five reasons why established churches should plant churches. There will always be numerous reasons why you shouldn’t. “We’re too small. We’re too young. We don’t have enough money.”
An informal survey several years ago asked pastors what was the optimal size to plant a church. Across the board, whether the church was large or small, most pastors answered about 25 percent larger than their existing church.
Planting a church is like having a baby. There’s never really a good time. There is enough time, money, energy, and space to have one. Childbirth is messy and has a lot of yelling, but in the end, a beautiful life is born, the labor is forgotten, and we often want to have another.
Choose not to become a cul-de-sac on the Great Commission Highway.
We’ve got a lot of churches on some strong birth control. We need to have a lot more pregnancies. Intended ones. We need to see some beautiful church plants born and then we’ll want to have another one. And another one.
I would exhort some established church pastors to get some skin in the game. Generously give to church planting, yes, but then go and plant a church. Choose not to become a cul-de-sac on the Great Commission Highway.

Read the whole post here.


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Sovereign Grace Sydney Church Plant Part 2

Part One.
Part 2 deals with the preparation for the church plant and the challenges of moving to a new country.


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Sovereign Grace Ministries Church Plant In Sydney

From the C.J. Mahaney/Sovereign Grace Ministries blog:

While I’m sure the word has spread, some of the most exciting news in Sovereign Grace Ministries is that we are now in Australia! That’s right. A new church has just been planted and we couldn’t be more excited about it. Our friend Dave Taylor and his family have relocated from Christchurch in Newport, Wales, to the land down under. Public meetings for Sovereign Grace Church Sydney began this past Sunday.
We’re so grateful for the Taylors and their ambition to see the gospel preached even when it calls them half way around the world away from family and friends. I recently had the chance to ask Dave some questions about his venture. Here you’re going to find a story that is shaped by the grace and wisdom of God, as well as filled with the faith of two people, Dave and Emma, who love God greatly. I bet God stirs your heart—like mine—as you read. And don’t miss the part about the importance of community. Read the rest of the post here.

Sovereign Grace Ministries Australia Website.