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Deeper Roots + Wider Branches

Pursuing Sanctification, Community & Mission

Category Archives: Branches

“Little Children, let us not love in word or talk, but in deed and in truth.” [1 John 3:18]

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For more details about how you can pray for Costa Rica, visit: http://www.operationworld.org/cost

 

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I am not a fan of everything published in Philadelphia Weekly, but I do tend to pick it up on a weekly basis mainly for their excellent “Arts & Culture” Calendar. I’ve attended several cool events that I found in PW. Lately, I’ve been picking up PW for more than just making my weekend plans. This month their “News and Opinions” section has featured some good writing on justice issues in our city. While I’ve got my beefs with PW, I definitely have to give props to the publication for talking about these issues and for reporting on tragic and hopeful local developments. Also want to give props to the writers: F.H. Rubino, Tara Murtha, and Aaron Case. Keep up the good work!

In Kensington, Renewed Hope for Troubled Souls” (2/23/11) – For my liberti church people, this is a great gospel story taking place in our own ‘hood. We should be praying for and networking with these people.  Check out Innercity Missions website.

In Philly, More Safe Places for Child-Abuse Victims” (2/16/11)- Helpful information and resources for those in our community serving children. Check out the Philadelphia Childrens Alliance for more info.

For Americans in the Sex Trade, Still Little Hope” (2/9/11)- Tragic story, but there are developments both in the city and the state to fight the injustices perpetrated against girls who have been manipulated and in some cases forced into prostitution. Also check out the documentary “Very Young Girls” and the work of Covenant House PA and Dawn’s Place.

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For more details on how you can pray for the DRC visit: http://www.operationworld.org/cong

Also, check out what’s going on with our friends with Women in Warzones: http://www.womeninwarzones.org/

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For more info on how you can pray for Bosnia and Herzegovina visit: http://www.operationworld.org/bosn

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Although I am not currently a church-planter, church-planting is something that I have a growing passion for, and hope to be a part of in one way or another for the rest of my life. So don’t be surprised if I end up posting a bunch of church-planting-related stuff on here…

I just read a short post over at the Resurgence called “Plant Churches Like a Missionary, Not a Pastor”  by Dave Dorr, Pastor of Passage Church in Cincinnati, OH. Dave says that his biggest mistake as a church planter was “approaching a new church start like a pastor and not like a missionary.” He points out that the failure to see church planting as a missionary endeavor with the goal of forming a church out of lost people in that area can quickly lead to missing the very mission that church-planting is supposedly all about:

“I know church planters often don’t have to do evangelism to start churches domestically. They can start with a group of people from their sending church. They can recruit from other churches. They can find a group of people who are fed up with how other churches do things and launch from there. Some of these are legitimate ways to plant a church. Some of these are shady. But all of them miss evangelism.”

Jesus commanded us to go out and make disciples, not create consumeristic upgrades for believers who are not satisfied elsewhere. Our mission is not to create “cooler” churches that provide goods and services that other churches lack (See another recent post by Dave entitled “Consumers“); our mission is to lead lost people to life, and call them to become committed disciples. This is not to say that there should not be a core-group of believers when starting a church-plant, and Dave makes this point in his post. After all, we are not to be lone-rangers out calling people to come follow us, but rather a covenant community calling people to come join us in folling Jesus. In his concluding paragraph, Dave says “The church planter is a missionary first, doing evangelism, and leading the believers in his church to reach lost people.”

I think that a lot of newer (especially) urban churches on the scene right now would agree with this idea. The question is: Is this actually happening? When you look at your church and realize that it is not reflective of the neighborhood that it is located in, what does that mean? I think this is a complex question and the answer may not be as simple as it initially seems, but I do think it’s a question worth asking. Secondly, since many newer urban church plants do agree with this ideology, what can we adjust/change to be more faithful to what we actually believe? Is it possible that our baggage about the way we are used to doing church or small-groups is holding us back from reaching our neighbors?

I definitely don’t have all the answers, but I do want someone who asks the questions. I pray that God would help church-planters and pastors as well as believers who are part of church-plants to be willing to rearrange the way we do life and community in ways that are more inviting to our neighbors and more faithful to our mission.

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For more details about how you can pray for Cambodia, visit: http://www.operationworld.org/camb

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