Last week I shared a post from Alan Frow on his forthcoming book on church multiplication. I also shared the post on our church site with longer quotes from the book. Because of the drama involved in a church with a multiplication DNA it has stirred up some conversation.
One of my ministry partners that thought it an important call, we shall call him Gopher Benji given his line of work, shared the following visual illustration of church multiplication.
“Your post this week about subtraction and its pain reminded me of an analogy of church planting I observed over the past six months in propagating my succulents. Here it is in a nutshell, with my amateur photographic journal:
1. Plant 1, well-rooted (sorry for the algae…)
2. Plant 1, now under duress, as half of it was broken off to be re-planted.
3. Plant 2 — formerly the top of Plant 1 — growing, putting down roots — notice the roots don’t have to be huge, just need to be present.
4. Plant 2 gets lopped off — now much smaller and under stress.
5. Lopped off plants (one or two from Plant 1 also) to plant… some won’t make it, but some do!
6. Plants 3 and 4 planted — from Plant 2 — now growing!
7. Meanwhile Plant 2 struggles but starts growing again.
8. Meanwhile Plant 1 has also been growing.
9. Now Plant 1 is ready to potentially plant 3 more new plants! Ready for another ouch?
It’s intense! Plant 1 has turned into 4 plants (potentially 7)… each with the potential to keep multiplying. The plants have scars. They’re not symmetrical or textbook anymore. But they are alive and making more life.“
Intense indeed, but a great visual to remind us that life goes on in multiplication, especially when the vinedresser is as skilled as our Lord is! Be encouraged friends, keep going.
Happy Friday friends. We are moving into the second half of July and making all the plans for fall. New projects. Renewed vigor. And the same need of daily naps.
Start your weekend with some reading, and listening, with these worthwhile bits of the internets. From a perspective hard to swallow all the way to Christian music that is genuine and artistic.
“Here his concern is only with the basic question of where authority and rule lie in world events. He will reply that all events originate in heaven, all individuals are stirred and guided by the Lord, all empires rise and fall at his direction: there is no other ultimate agent.”
J. Alec Motyer on Isaiah 41
First up is a topic that comes with quite a lot of controversy but deserves our thoughtful engagement. Reparations. Now answer this question, have you ever really deeply thought about it or do you immediately jump to impossibility when thinking of the topic?
Well, I want to encourage you to actually take the effort to understand the idea and think Christianly about it. Timothy Thomas has published what I think is a fair look at reparation with stirring to rethink it.
“Imagine I came to you and confessed that I had stolen something from you many years ago, something that made it exceedingly difficult for you and your family to prosper. But rather than compensate you for my theft, or even return what I had stolen, I merely apologized. Naturally, you would be unsatisfied by my words. Imagine if I had said: “But it happened so long ago. You’ve overcome so much in the meantime, and your family has found a way to flourish in the face of hardship, even without what I stole from you. So returning or replacing it isn’t going to change anything. It’s only going to stir up bitterness. Besides, we’re both Christians, and you of all people should understand forgiveness.” You probably wouldn’t consider my apology contrite or Christian.”
Next up, giving your church away. I have long had the hope and vision for leading a church planting church – one always sending, seeding the kingdom with mature faithful saints, even if it means we are a small church forever without acclaim.
Alan Frow and the people of Southlands have been living this out as a medium-sized multiplying church and Alan has a forthcoming book on the very idea I think we should all jump on and he has been sharing snippets on his blog.
In this glimpse into the book Frow talks about embracing the pain of subtraction and it gives a helpful look into what it means to pursue multiplication. It sometimes hurts but it worth it because it is what Jesus has called us to.
Give it a read and order the book when it is available later this month!
Lastly, Brett McCracken doesn’t want you to think that all Christian musicians have to offer is what you hear on KLOVE.
“The reputation of Christian music has not been the greatest in recent decades. Often accused of being derivative, sugarcoated, and samey-sounding, “Christian music” as a genre has become such a liability that many musicians understandably avoid the label like the plague.”
Brett goes on to present 14 artists to watch. Each has been producing quality, theologically sound music. Read his take here and then change up your summer playlist.
Have a great weekend and run to Jesus with all of who you are. He loves you and will give you strength.
Don’t you just love how Friday can sneak up on you! Well here we are, another week and another opportunity to be encouraged, challenged, or educated by something worthwhile.
Plagiarism, Calvinistic church planting, and a song, in that order.
First off is another take on the Rachel Hollis phenomenon. The social media star and author has a second book, “Girl Stop Apologizing,” making its way around and lots of women are checking it out. There is an itching ear lure to it, you are the dream holder, go get it. But it is quite another gospel as Jen Oshman clearly shows.
So the general message found on the pages is dangerous and not the Christian gospel. But it might also not be genuinely Hollis’. Katelyn Beaty has a piece on Christianity Today that outlines the ways in which this latest book is rife with plagiarism.
Not only is the self-worshiping tome bad theology, it is stolen philosophy at best. Be warned!
What’s the big deal about church planting?
Recently I have found myself in conversations that questioned church planting as a key missional instrument. To be honest I was a bit taken aback that people would see church planting as a detraction from evangelism in the least reached places of the world. Surely no one could be out of step with statistical benefits of church planting when it comes to conversion, and the importance of indigenous churches, I thought to myself.
Then I wondered if perhaps it is the theological environment – like the old accusation that Calvinists don’t evangelize. To the rescue comes Jeff Medders.
Author of Humble Calvinism, Medders makes a point of the relationship between church planting and cherishing the doctrines of grace.
“Calvinism is meant for more than theological headiness; it’s meant for mission… God’s sovereignty in salvation maximizes our mission. When we know that God is the only unstoppable and unfailing force in the universe—and that we are on mission with him—then our hearts and eyes widen for the lost. Far from hamstringing our efforts and endurance, the doctrines of grace energize us and remind us why we plant churches: because God saves sinners.”
Medders goes on to tie TULIP to planting as well as pointing out a couple of great catalysts of church planting, who happened to be Calvinists. And it is worthwhile for those wondering… read it here.
Finally, this week was one full of meetings with other pastors. It was encouraging and at one session the group worshiped together in song. While singing with these men we were all stirred by the truth conveyed in He Is Worthy.
While the style of call and response is new to some, it is a historical way of liturgy in the church and man does it declare Scripture well here.
Have a great weekend. Go to church. Hang with friends. Have an adventure!