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Teaching English and Art together, putting on the GospelCafé concerts, prayer, meeting with our new French friends. It's a good life!

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Friday, June 3, 2011

We get asked, "What will your job be as a church planter?"

This is a general overview of our work, and we will share more specifics we learned recently from my work in France in February and March.
     Even though the church planter will do the job of a pastor at the beginning, this will change dramatically. We will be on a team who each have different gifts and we will use our gifts in a variety of ways to bring people into the Kingdom of God and train them to become disciples to take over our ministry. This will become their church that they will lead and we will leave. They have to know this at the beginning. They have to want to take over and then train others to start a new work. The following excerpt is so exceptional on this topic.

Craig Ott and Gene Wilson in their book, Global Church Planting:
     “From the outset national(s) must be trained to do all essential ministries: evangelism, preaching, teaching, counseling, administration. The church planter must surrender the desire to have “up front” ministry. His or her primary role is behind the scenes, equipping others. The church planter who loves to preach must learn to focus on equipping others to preach; the church planter who is gifted in counseling will need to shift emphasis to empowering others to counsel.
     The lay sermons will probably not be as homiletically polished or theologically astute as those the missionary could preach. But the reward will be the development of truly empowered local leaders who will serve the church well after the church planter has departed. The missionary is constantly working himself or herself out of a job, performing a ministry only so long as necessary to train a national. Indeed, apart from evangelism and initial follow-up, if a national is not available and willing to be trained, the ministry should probably not be initiated. This may make for a slower start but will result, we believe, in a more solid finish for the church plant.”
     One of the essential attitudes, though, needed to keep our hearts and minds focused on the endpoint is gospel humility. Without a heart mastered by Jesus, convinced of His incredible love for us, we could not keep an other-centered focus, where we would always seek to equip others in ministry and release them to that task.
     Don't you love that?!     - Carol

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