I read something today in the Acts 29 newsletter that just made me smile. Acts 29 is a church planting network of which Jacob's Well is affiliated. There are several things in this quote which reflect some of the reasons I appreciate the network. The quote is about the Acts 29 boot camps, three day equipping events designed to help men assess and receive training in a call to church planting:
Acts 29 boot camps provide the theological compass for church planting. We do not provide lots (any?) of how-to tips. We rather present a compass in seven- parts that will help a church planter navigate through a difficult journey. How-to tips are not bad, but a pastor armed with character, a Bible, a mission from Jesus, the gospel message and a passionate calling will usually figure out how to lead people on mission for the glory of Jesus Christ. Jesus did not die on a cross so that we could start a cool church. He died to glorify Himself as the mission is completed through His redeemed people. Without the cross, we have no mission. Without a mission, we only have religion. Without a mission, we have no passion because we have no cure for the hopeless condition of humankind. Jesus said, As the Father has sent me into the world, even so I am sending you. (John 17:18; 20:21)
Here is a quick list of what I like so much in this statement
- Jesus matters - you would think this is a given in church planting - but making Jesus the center of preaching, teaching, mission and leadership is on the tip of the spear with the network.
- Theologically driven - if a man knows how to use a compass he can find his way. If someone is of sound doctrine, firm conviction - this will serve him better than simply copying models
- Character matters - a man's gifts are not the most important reality to the mission fo the gospel. Acts 29 cares about the character of someone as reflecting integrity and virtue in his life and with his family
- Calling matters - a man must be called to follow God on mission in culture to plant a church. If the calling is lacking many will cash in when it gets tough.
- Not afraid of Passion and Leadership - we all know that passion must have a good direction. Yet we need not fear a passionate commitment to a mission which is good, right and true. I love the men from Acts 29 I have met and interacted with - they are passionate, masculine men who are not afraid to exhort and call each other upward.
- Missional - we see the church as the sent people of God into the world for the sake of the world, to see people saved to the glory of God.