I Quit Going to Church

Dear Church,   A few weeks ago, I gave a talk (kind of a sermon – more of a story) called “Follow the Yellow Brick Road.” You can find it on our web site (www.grace-community.net) under the “Resources” tab. If you missed it, I’d love for you to go back and listen to it. It’s the story of our journey toward planting a new church (most likely in Osawatomie), but also, and more importantly, toward building “church planting” as a disciple-making strategy into the DNA of GC.   I won’t repeat the story here (please go listen to it), but perhaps some of you are asking the question, “Why would we invest time, energy, people and money into planting a new church (new churches) instead of investing all of those resources into reaching people through GC?” If that’s your question, it’s a good one. So, let me speak to it.   The short answer is – evangelistic effectiveness – which is really about bringing hope, help, and healing to our world through Jesus. A few years back, Dr. C. Peter Wagner said, “The single most effective evangelistic methodology under heaven is planting new churches.” And Dr. Lyle Schaller added, “New church development is the most effective means for reaching people for Christ. Numerous studies have shown that 60% to 80% of the new adult members of new congregations are persons who were not actively involved in the life of any worshiping congregations immediately prior to joining that new church.”   That’s why!   And hopefully it’s not an either/or. We want it to be both/and. Our heart’s cry is for GC (the “mother church”) to continue to be used of God to “together become, and invite others to become, authentic followers of Christ.” We want to continue to be what we’ve always aimed to be – a church where people who don’t like church might find a church they like and where people who don’t know what they’re missing by not living in relationship with Christ might find a people living as such authentic followers of Jesus that they can’t but be drawn to him.   But God has called us, his people, to be disciples that make disciples that make disciples that make disciples … and planting new churches is one of the most effective ways to carry out that call. So, God helping us, we’re going to give ourselves to it.   By the way, this is not a new idea or new conversation. It’s just one God has fanned into flame in recent years and one I don’t want to let go out.   It’s one of the ways we can live out what it means to “be the church.”   Praying for a mutation to our DNA.   Joel