What would happen if we as Christians focused our efforts at planting Jesus in the hearts of people rather than simply planting a “church”? As a church planter, I wrestle all the time with ideas and expectations of what the process of establishing a “church” looks like. Is it found in programs? A building? Teams of people moving to an area?
If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.
(John 15:7-8 ESV)
What if we simply took the words of Jesus to heart and began producing fruit? Would that fruit not eventually grow into a church? I think sometimes in our zeal to plant a “church” we forget the most important element and that is the heart of people. Most church planters I talk to say they are planting a new church because they want “see the lost get saved and serve Jesus” but if that really is the case then you have to realize that new Christians will come with a lot of baggage that will take a long time to shed. Sometimes (Many times!), they will get discouraged and leave the work you are trying to establish. In doing this they will often criticize you, your vision, God, your spouse, and other people in the congregation you are trying to bond together. All the fancy systems and planning cannot eliminate this. We have to focus on people.
What would such a movement look like? How much would you be willing to sacrifice? Would you and your spouse be willing to work full-time jobs as you started the process of reaching people? It would certainly speed up the process of getting to a specific region and moving forward in planting Jesus in the hearts of people. Even the apostle Paul made tents as he planted the gospel seed of Jesus into the hearts of the people he ministered to.
All good questions to consider. Feedback anyone? Anyone?