Discipleship

10 Rules for Church Planting: An Antidote to Hurry

Jordan Peterson set off a trend with his book, 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos.

Everyone is doing their own “12 rules for life” now. Malcolm Gladwell just devoted an entire podcast to it. The only problem: He only has one rule for life. (It’s worth a listen.)

We may not have twelve rules for life (yet), but we do have ten commitments. Consider this our 10 Rules for Church Planting: An Antidote to Hurry.

In a series of leadership meetings over the winter (2017-18), we have sought to envision and define a healthy church culture. We asked the question, “What type of church culture will give us the best chance of continuous fruitfulness generation after generation?”

The following ten commitments reflect the culture we envision and describe the commitments required to sustain our vision (a Grace centered church that Loves one another and promotes the Renewal of the community). The commitments also provide a “code of conduct” for our leaders and members to embody.

1. We Are Family. 

We are relational beings, made in the image of the triune God. Relationship is our deepest longing and greatest need.

We put others first. We begin and end with grace. We don’t gossip, and we don’t have to have the last word.

2. We Are Not in a Hurry. 

Soul work is slow work. We move slow and play the long game.

Church planting is normally fueled by hurry, caffeine, and adrenaline. Hurry is, by definition, an unsustainable pace. We reject the mantra of “faster, bigger, better.”

3. We Honor God by Enjoying Our Lives. 

Life in Christ is the ultimate gift. We live in a state of joy and gratitude because of God’s grace.

The pressure is off. We have nothing to prove and no one to impress. We can even have fun!

4. We Promote Our City’s Renewal.

We love Columbia and its surrounding towns. We don’t live for ourselves but for the good of our neighbors.

We reach people, build them up, and release them back into the world to make a difference. We’re not building a dynasty. We are a leadership greenhouse: We cultivate leaders.

5. We Make Room for Outsiders.

We don’t exist just for who’s here but also for who’s not here. We remember what it feels like to be an outsider. All decisions consider the empty chair.

We believe beauty is unity in diversity; we fight for diversity and celebrate it.

6. We Lead as a Team.

We can go faster alone, but we will go further together. We are quick to praise and slow to criticize. We keep our faces soft.

We don’t use people to grow our ministries; we use our ministries to grow people. We reject celebrity-culture, platform-building church consumerism.

7. We Expect Constant Resistance.

We are in a spiritual war. The battle must be fought anew every day. We don’t complain or get bitter. 

We receive life’s challenges with gratitude and grit. We let pain and suffering soften us, rather than harden us.

8. We Trust the Process. 

God works through process; he takes his people the long way around.

We carry life’s complexities with empathy. We receive what’s given.

9. We Give It All Away.

We are recipients and stewards of all we are given. Our posture is abundance, not scarcity. 

If our leaders go on to do great things, and we won’t get the credit, we will have succeeded.  

10. We Celebrate Every Season.

We celebrate the valleys, the peaks, the plains, and the wilderness.

We rest well because we’re not in charge. We enjoy regular Sabbaths, retreats, and sabbaticals.

***

There are our church planting commitments—our antidote to hurry.

If these commitments resonate with you, or if you are interested in church planting, we would love to talk! You can visit one of our gatherings or send us a message.

Much love!

How Do We Make Disciples? (Part One)

When discussing discipleship, many things may come to mind—a class, a program, a Bible study, family worship, one-on-one mentoring, a core set of doctrines, or an early developmental stage.

At Trinity, we believe discipleship is the work of the church. Jesus left his disciples with this command:

Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you to the very end of the age. (Matthew 28:19-20)

We think discipleship is not as difficult as the church has often made it to be, and there are no magic bullets to guarantee discipleship. Discipleship is neither a duty to perform nor a puzzle to solve. Before we can discuss how we make disciples, we have to define the process and the goal. 

Here’s how we define it: 

Discipleship is the life-giving, grace-filled process of being with Christ and becoming like him together.

First, discipleship will be life-giving if it is truly centered on Jesus Christ.

He is the Way, the Truth and the Life. Our groups should primarily be marked by life and not stagnation, joy and not defeat, encouragement and not gossip. In other words, discipleship must be “gospel centered”—ministry rooted in Jesus and his gospel.  

Second, discipleship is grace-filled. 

We recognize that spiritual transformation comes through God’s grace, not simply our effort. God’s grace enables us to want to be with Christ and become like him (Titus 2:11-13). We will fail frequently, but his grace sustains us along the way.

Third, discipleship is a process.

It’s not a theory, a class, a program, or a time of the week. Similar to a worldview, a process—a new way of living, with new habits and routines—must be produced if we are to life like Christ and as his salt and light in the world.

Fourth, discipleship is a process of being with Christ.

It is not a primarily way of doing more for him or the church. The first invitation of discipleship is not to growth or change or even obedience; it is simply to come to Jesus. The words of Matthew 11:28-30 demonstrate our Lord’s heart for his disciples:

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.

Fifth, discipleship is a way of becoming like him.

Once we have spent time in the presence of the King, we will gradually become more like him. Our growth in Christlikeness produces a real change, and our obedience becomes an internal desire rather than an external compulsion. We become what we behold, according to Paul in 2 Corinthians 3:18.

And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. 

Lastly, discipleship happens together.

Our being and becoming like Christ is not an individual pursuit. It is deeply personal, yet it does not happen primarily in a “Jesus and me” context. Instead, the best possible place of spiritual transformation is the local church—and most specifically, a small, regular, committed group of believers pursuing the same end.

 

If we want to find a blueprint for discipleship, we must begin where all true discipleship should begin, by looking at the earthly life and ministry of Jesus.

Stay tuned for Part Two! 

 

This post is an excerpt from the forthcoming ebook, Life-Giving Groups, by Jeremy Linneman. It releases from Sojourn Network on October 25, 2017.