Friday, 27 August 2010

Growth plans or life plans?

Ed Stetzer in his book Planting Missional Churches shares something of the journey of Atalanta Church Planter Danny Presten.

Church growth plan 1: Cool preacher and cool music.

His plan was this: Put together, “cool worship band and a cool speaker.” (himself) “people would come. They weren’t going to church because it wasn’t cool enough – I thought.” Presten found out by talking to people in the area that downtown residents weren’t interested in going to any Church and weren’t really interested in Christianity either.

Conclusion:“We figured out that all the attractional stuff might draw Christian friends because it was a little cooler than their church. But that’s not why we came here. We’re here to reach lost people.”

Church growth plan 2: Good venue, great events.

“So Presten shifted his strategy to renting a storefront and staging different events every night that would attract the different subcultures – skateboarding competitions for skaters, poetry readings and concerts for the artists, etc.” Presten’s place would be where the various subcultures of people wanted to hang out and a church would eventually result. That too, ended up to be flawed thinking, according to Presten.

Conclusion: “We started looking for a storefront property and realised all those things were already going on around us.” He said. “There was already a skating place where they had competitions all the time. There already were three concert venues on one block. Did we really need a fourth that was owned by a Christian?”

Church growth plan 3: Live like Jesus

Instead they took up jobs and spent time becoming 'insiders' in various communities. They won trust, shared life and gradually spoke about Jesus.

Presten himself got a job at a motorcycle shop. In two weeks of working at the shop, Presten built deeper relationships with people than six or seven months of "outsider" ministry had produced.

Conclusion: I guess people walk with Jesus and become like Him. The Father loves it as we follow the footsteps of his son. In the case of Danny Presten, they now have a Church of 6,000. Thank you Lord.

"These Churches define themselves much more by how many people they serve and how "members" live out their faith in their particular circles all week long. It is not a "come and see" approach, but it is rather a "go and tell." 

Hugh Halter insightfully writes, "The biggest assumption we had to get rid of is: If we build it, they will come to us, if we do it well enough." "We had to start assuming that they are not going to come. The only ones that are going to be drawn to our programs are Christians."

I find this very provocative. I know that Jesus came to us. I know that he sent someone to speak to me about Him and I know that I would never have gone to Church otherwise.


  1. Yep! Its not about the building, its not about the worship team sounding amazing, its not about looking good - its about the presence of God and loving people. It is also about us going out to find the people who need God, I dont think in this day and age we can expect people to come to church, they need to be found where they are and that is the calling on our lives. GO heal the sick and raise the dead, cleanses lepers and make disciples - not, try to get them to come to church!

  2. this is brilliant

  3. Love it. Resist the urge to be cool. Be like Jesus - he's irrestable.