My Patellar Reflex to Andrew Jones’ “9 reasons NOT to plant churches.”

Andrew jones is an “itinerant social entrepreneur” who recently wrote an article entitled: “9 reasons Not to plant a church in 2012.” Now there’s a title that will get your attention. I don’t know Andrew, but I also am not sure what an “itinerant social entrepreneur” is either and you might be struggling with what Patellar Reflex is…look it up. Anyways…my thoughts are in no way intended to be disrespectful or dishonoring to Andrew (I always feel a need to say this because it’s really common these days for bloggers and writers to speak contemptuously towards those they disagree with…and I just hate those stupid idiots!) but to simply share what I agree with and what not, in his very thought provoking article. What I will do is quote Andrew and then respond. Here’s part one from his introduction which leads up to his “9 reasons”.

Andrew: “…while some young, enthusiastic people are out there planting churches like its 1997, others are focusing on launching more sustainable, more holistic, more measurably transformational Kingdom solutions.”

Dave: The implication here is that those out there planting churches like it’s 1997 are not focusing on “…launching more sustainable, more holistic, more measurably transformational Kingdom solutions.” I talk to a lot of church planters and I can’t think of one that does not want to do what the “others” whom Andrew refers to want to do. I do like Andrew’s choice of the word “sustainable” even though defining that word can be subjective. I do like the word “measurable” because pastors are oftentimes too unclear as to what they are trying to produce and therefore that vagueness makes it difficult to measure whether or not you are hitting their target. “holistic” is a word used a lot these days and in relation to church planting, or church-life in general, I’m really not sure what the heck it means.

Andrew: “One of the biggest trends in church planting that I observed in my recent 30+ country trek is the SHIFT AWAY FROM planting churches towards NOT planting a church at all but focusing on a wider range of transforming Kingdom activities.”

Dave: After the above mentioned statement Andrew goes on to give four examples, three of which are from overseas church planters, to support his point. There are many reasons why the Western/Americanized way of doing church does not work well in many other countries (which is not to imply it is working well here…but I digress) and proponents of the missional-house-church movement (which I might add, I do consider a legitimate model) often times draw attention to the success of house churches in other countries but this is often a matter of apples and oranges.

Andrew: “…some of the most innovative new Christian communities I came across did not launch or host Sunday worship services as part of their ministry portfolio.”

Dave: I’m fine with that strategy.

Andrew: “There has been some disillusionment with the church planting movement, even after it has purged itself of its 80’s church growth pragmatism.”

Dave: Really? I guess I missed that purging.

I’m going to stop for now because I don’t like to go over 500 words and I’ve got a church planter to call who definitely wants to purge but it has nothing to do with the Church Growth Movement. Be watching for pt. 2

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