Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Horses, Rabbits and Ducklings / Church Planting

So how can we have horse churches that reproduce like rabbits and produce duckling’s . . . and not produce more “mile wide, inch deep” Christianity? [If you are wondering about what in the world is up with horses, rabbits and ducklings, see entry below.]

Curtis Sergeant shared several keys with us last week in our South Africa meetings—here are my top take-aways.

One, new believers should immediately be taught how to share the gospel, and also to make a list of 50 people they would like to share with. Like a day or two after they trust Christ. Then helped to do that, and held accountable to do it.

Two, they should be taught to be self-feeding. Meaning they immediately need to be taught how to read, understand and obey the Bible. Not just tell them about the Bible. But teach them how to get into it for themselves And learn how to pray for themselves.

Three, practice dual accountability. This means 1) obey what they learn and 2) immediately teach it to someone else. That’s the duckling principle put into practice. If they don’t obey lesson 1 and teach it to someone else, don’t give them lesson 2 until they do. Radical? Or simply Biblical?

“But wait,” one leader asked, “doesn’t this open the door to heresy and problems if you turn so much responsibility over to new believers?”

Curtis’ answer made me smile with agreement., as well as everyone else. “If you look at church history, every heresy has been introduced by those with advanced theological training. There is not much temptation to put the opinion of a poorly educated person over the plain words of Scripture.” He went on to say that of course more education is important, but that should not delay sending out a new believers to share with his friends, and then teaching them whatever lesson he just learned. And someone should stick with them to disciple them to help them stay on course.

Another African leader posed this question. Which church is healthier? One with 3,000 people who worship together each weekend, but do little else during the week? Or a church of 300 with 80% of its members ministering in some way during the week?

As I stew over these challenging concepts (which are so thoroughly Biblical), I wonder if maybe the US many times is a mile wide and an inch deep?

What do you think? Or more importantly, what could you do about it? Would love for you to leave a comment.

Mike Jorgensen


Mike and Mary Wagner said...

Just last week in India I witnessed something for the first time. On the 3rd day of the campaign, we were eating our lunch in an open field. Our jeep driver was part of our lunch group each day. After we finished, I asked him what he thought of our work. He had different gods on the dash of his vehicle, so I was expecting a different answer. He said, I have been watching you all week. I drive a lot for business and when I drive people to a temple, I never go in. But when I drive people to a Christian wedding, I am always invited in to the church. They are happy and friendly like you. After more discussion, I presented the gospel to him and he prayed to receive Jesus. I was asking the driver if he could "do" the cube when 2 men came from the cotton fields. Another team member said, "Let him share with these two guys" ... and he went through the cube completely. One man accepted Jesus, the other did not. He was not comfortable saying the prayer, but in less than 5 minutes of him praying to receive Jesus, he led someone else to the Lord! I have seen new believers lead others to the Lord, but not this quick! It was a glorious moment!

Ned said...

I was just walking in the woods talking with God about love. It seems to me it's difficult to know much about another person's relationship with God (much less an entire church). Other than carefully watching to observe the fruits of the Spirit, it's easy to get fooled.

Perhaps I'm over-thinking. As Mike said to me one time after I asked a question, "That's why we like to have an engineer on the trip, because if they get it then we know everybody gets it."

Mike J said...

Great testimony, Mike and Mary. The power of immediate obedience.

Ned, good thought. You're right, we can't judge what's inside. But what "leaks" out in obedience gives a hint at what is inside. And if there is not much obedience, then whatever is there is "inch deep."