I have been able to attend the National Church Replant Lab in Atlanta the past two days. It was at a gathering similar to this one about 15 months ago that began Leslie and I on our journey in pastoring and replanting. Now we find ourselves in St. Louis, serving alongside The Groves Church in a replanting residency, and preparing for what the Lord has next for us in replanting.
Several things have stuck out to me from the gathering (among many others that are not listed):
-The Replanter truly is a missionary-he goes to a place that no one else will, should expect persecution, and you are called to do the work only God can do.
-The issues in most churches that need replanting is authority and leadership issues that have not been dealt with for sometimes decades. Ecclesiology does matter, and it is a journey to get the church to (or back to) a healthy ecclesiology.
-Tactical patience is the key to the work.
-God must truly break the hearts of the people in the church for replanting to happen.
-As you are replanting a church-struggle, persecution and hardship is not the sign to leave-it is the sign to stay. This means God is truly at work.
-Suffering is inevitable to the work of replanting.
-Brian Croft's 5 questions in evaluating a dying church:
-Authority: Who is In Charge?
-Leadership: Who Do I Follow?
-Membership: to Whom Am I Accountable?
-Unity: Who Is My Brother?
-Worship: Why Do We Gather?
This has been a really solid gathering.
Matthew is 34 years old and currently lives in St Louis, Missouri with his wife Leslie. He serves as the Associate Pastor at The Groves Church, in Webster Groves, Missouri.