Anatomy of a Church Plant
Community | by Pastor Adam Sinnett
What is it like to be part of a church plant? Not just a small church – a church plant? That question alone strikes fear into the heart of many followers of Jesus, often stopping them from taking the step of faith required to be part of a new gospel work. “Isn’t that risky?” “Isn’t that a little unstable?” “What about my favorite ministries?” “What about my friends?” Church planting forces you to reevaluate everything.
Discipleship is a process that encompasses receiving Christ to growing to maturity in Christ. While it is true the primary goal of starting new churches is to connect people to Christ, it is essential to have growing, faith-filled, maturing believers fueling the engine of passionate, loving, winsome service and evangelism. The church planting environment is ideal for developing mature followers of Christ because it is faith-stretching and refining in every way for everyone involved.
“Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ.” Colossians 1:28
I recently asked our launch team how they’ve been stretched, challenged and grown because of their involvement in this church plant. What follows are snapshots of that encouraging exercise. Maybe it will encourage you to join us or another church plant.
What follows is an anatomy of a church plant:
“God’s teaching me that life (especially in a church plant) isn’t going to be perfectly clean, smooth, and tidy…God is shattering this lie, showing me that life is rough around the edges, he is the best hero I could have at the center, and I need to live out of my heart instead of trying to control every piece of fruit that comes out of me.”
“God, in His grace, has used this new church planting season, a season of being “squeezed,” to show me what comes gushing out of my own heart. And as I look at where I have been, I will be ever grateful and thankful that the fire and heat God brought brings truth to light and my dross to the surface!”
“Missions is every believers calling. I haven’t really understood this reality until being called out of comfort into a city filled with sin, sinners (including me) and a field white unto harvest. God hasn’t called me to a different country, but He has called me to be a missionary. A missionary right where I live…”
“God has shown me I take many facets of my life for granted, and give them far more value and worth than I realized. From switching jobs, to moving, to old circles of friends: only when it came time to let go, did I see how much I wanted to cling to them. What a joy to replace false foundations with the promises of God.”
“Jesus is challenging me to create space for him to redefine what coming to church on Sunday may look like as well as community. The end goal isn’t getting a bunch of people to have an emotional experience, accept christ and fill a building every sunday and attend a bible study once a week.”
“Jesus is inviting me to push into the body of believers and share life fully with them as we together share life fully with the city. Practically this has been putting Jesus first and truly casting out idols.”
“Not a week passes where I haven’t been completely rocked. Really pushing into community and family is scary because they see my sins and sometimes they hurt me and sometimes I hurt them. Experiencing true grace is life transforming.”
“In the process of following Jesus, what I have seen without fail, is that God is faithful and that’s no exception with Downtown Cornerstone Church. His word never comes back empty and you can bank on every one of his promises!”
“He has taught me that making the main thing (loving God and people) should be the focus of His people. He has shown me the truth that we are His ambassadors and that He lovingly pursues people through us. He has stretched me in my dependancy on him. To live less for myself and more to love others. To be motivated by love to love. To believe his promises are true that to be spent for others is a life well spent.”
“God is continuing to teach us how to orient our lives in a way that while still not easy, makes us more readily available to say “yes” to His radical call of discipleship. I am so appreciative for this opportunity to do His Kingdom work by helping plant DCC in downtown Seattle, because it’s often quite uncomfortable and God is growing me in that.”
“Planting a new church requires a level of reliance for the simple things (Who will come? Where will we meet? Who will pay for it? Who will run it? Who will serve?) that makes God’s hand of provision and His responses to prayer very apparent. It’s exciting, and it’s why I love being a part of new works, like DCC, that God is starting It’s awesome to see Him at work, and His heart revealed as we pursue those around us because of His love, and [for me,] with renewed passion…because I’m being challenged.”
“This year, I have been convicted of a lack of true love for people. Living and being around lots of people constantly, has forced me to engage and love people in ways that was easier said than done. I am truly thankful that Jesus continues to pursue, love, and engage me at my worst, proverbially homeless, and without hope.”
“I have found it challenging to operate in a community as small as ours. With so few people there is no place to hide my crap. If I show up then people notice me. This is also true if I fail to show up. Each person’s work or lack there of is noticed. I have discovered my walk has been one governed by the “minimum effective dose.” I am moving towards being all in. God wants the best of my first and not the best of what’s left.”
“To him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” Ephesians 3:12