church planting

Moving Targets by David Campbell

Global Face

And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. Matthew 16:18

Jesus made this radical statement. Thousands of people have debated as to whether Jesus would build His church on Peter or on His confession. While I have my convictions, that is not the purpose of this post. I would rather call attention to what Jesus said would not happen. Jesus said that the gates of hell would not prevail against His church. It is clear that the church is strong and vibrant when looking at the global church, yet sometimes it appears weak and ineffective when looking at a local body.

Have you ever noticed that there are extremely rare instances of local churches lasting for very long? Sure, you have buildings that last, but very rarely do we have congregations that last. I know that we hear people blaming the degradation of society or cultural shifts or any number of other reasons. But I cannot go along with that. Jesus said that the gates of hell would not prevail against His church. So what is happening?

Jesus, during his incarnation, confined Himself to a regional geography but never a specific and exclusive place. He was itinerant at best- even warning those who wanted to follow Him that He had a less stable environment than the foxes. Jesus taught His disciples to do what He did. Jesus' command was to follow Him (indicating movement). Yet they tried to stay put in a specific location. Then persecution came and the church started to spread, all but the apostles. Finally in 70 AD we learn that the hammer was dropped and the gospel was thrust out.

Could it be that the church was never meant to be stationary? What would it look like if this were true?

The Process of Discipleship by David Campbell


As we prepare for church planting in Berlin, Germany there are many things that The Lord has been showing us. One in particular is the process of discipleship in Church Planting. That discipleship is necessary is a non-negotiable. It has been commanded by The Lord Jesus. What seems to be up in the air among many solid biblical churches is the process. It seems there is an obsession with having a repeatable process so that we can get a predictable result. As though the outcome of every believer is supposed to look and act the exact same. This leads to myriad of classes and programs and instructions. The challenge is that we all know we should be discipling and we all know that we are weak in this. So well meaning leaders write curricula and 'resources' to equip others to disciple.

Then life happens. One of my favorite quotes is by the great theologian, Mike Tyson: "everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face." So true! We have a great process and plan but it never seems to work? At least for very long.

The problem that I see is that we have lost the ability to hear the voice of our Lord. We, many times, do not believe He will lead us and speak to us. Because we do not think He will lead us we are forced to look at others or search scripture for a pattern and then latch on to that. Yet have you noticed that while Jesus healed a LOT of people but He never did it the same way twice? I think it is because He knew that we would be tempted to try and stamp out a process and leave our relationship with Him.

I firmly believe that The Lord will and does primarily speak to us by scripture, but unless that word is united in faith (a gift from Him) then it remains powerless. Have you ever noticed that you can know a passage of scripture for a long time and never be affected by it and then suddenly it comes alive? This should be what we are looking for - not the cognitive knowledge of a text but the text coming alive in us. The greatest skill we can teach others is to listen to voice of God. Or perhaps better yet, how to silence the other two predominant voices in self and satan. When we eliminate those from the equation it becomes much easier to hear the precious voice of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Don't be so quick to think every discipleship opportunity can be run through a process. Ask Jesus in every situation what you are to do. He will lead you. He is Lord -- not us.