No matter how you do it, just plant a church!
One of the challenges faced by the Elim Movement right now is 'church planting inertia', argues Gary Gibbs.
For example, she told me that if I ate the crust on my jam sandwich, I would always have curly hair. (Reader, look at Gary's photo below!)
Mum also told me that if I continually tried to pick the fluff out of my navel, sooner or later my finger would go right through and I would deflate like a balloon.
On one occasion, she asked me whether I would like to try scrambled eggs, or poached? Up until then I had only ever had fried eggs so I was somewhat confused by the concept of having them cooked differently. "The thing is Gary," she told me, "there's more than one way of skinning a cat."
Talk about confused! I had mental images of a poor feline losing its coat just so I could have my eggs cooked in a fresh way. And how can there be more than one way of skinning it!? Head to tail? Tail to head? Dead or alive? My mind was seriously boggled - not to mention traumatised!
It's fascinating how these sayings come about over time. This one came from an American short story written in the mid-19th century. And I'm sure the vast majority of us know that the point of the saying is that there is more than one way of doing something.
But did you know that when it comes to planting new churches, there are lots of different ways and models?
One of the challenges we face right now in our Movement is that to some degree we have 'church-planting inertia' due to not recognising that new Christian communities can be birthed in all sorts of ways.
Lifecentral Church in Halesowen has begun congregations in two new locations in recent times taking a whole bunch of people and beginning or restarting attractive, vibrant works in these nearby communities.
Coventry Elim has recognised a new branch that was started by an excellent, faithful couple in the church who have begun to gather people who speak mainly Tamil.
Rich and Katrina Oakley have relocated to Clevedon and begun meeting with a few people in their front room from where they will grow to a critical mass of believers.
Henry Emuze and his family have kicked off a brand new church based on African-style Sunday worship in South East London. Oh, and by the way, you can skin a cat without being ordained!
Elim believes in the biblical doctrine of 'the priesthood of all believers'. So, if you have a heart and passion to reach lost people for Jesus and you are a faithful, consistent member of your existing church, this could be for you too!
Talk with your pastor and share your heart vision. Begin to pray and formulate a plan.
Contact us at the REACH office and let's begin a conversation about how we can support you in what you believe the Lord wants you to do.
Peter Wagner, one of the most influential missiologists of recent times, said, "Planting new churches is the most effective evangelistic methodology known under heaven." If we are going to experience a massive harvest in these days, we must pour even more of our energies and resources into this vital area of mission and ministry.
May this continue to be an actual priority of our national Vision 20/20 and not simply something which is an interesting idea. Let's skin that cat in as many ways as we can!
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