ACTS IN 90 DAYS
A reading for Monday, June 29, 2020: Acts 11:19-30.
"The hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number became believers and turned to the Lord."
A new movement is afoot in church planting in North America. It seems the old traditional model of selecting land, building and building, hiring a pastor, and setting about gathering disciples of Jesus is changing.
Today it is more likely that a group of Christians begin to gather in someone's home or in a local coffee shop. Perhaps a young couple moves into a neighborhood and starts a Bible study, seeking others who wish to study the word. Or maybe it's a local feeding program or homeless ministry that is formed by some local Christians who wish to act on Jesus' call to ministry. The group discovers they share love for and belief in Jesus.
Then someone gets the idea that perhaps this might be a church, a place of worship and the telling of the story of what God is doing in the neighborhood. So the group contacts a presbytery or a Methodist conference or some other official church body and asks such an organization to partner with them in planting a new worshipping community. A new church is born!
It's a lot like the church forming in Antioch from Acts chapter 11. A group of believers formed, and the scripture says "the hand of the Lord was with them" and Barnabas was sent to work with them in forming a new church. Barnabas went and found Saul and the two of them worked to build up the church for a full year. In fact, according to Acts it was in this place that believers were first called "Christians."
So maybe church planting in such a way is not a new movement at all but an ancient one revisited. Either way... Thanks be to God!