Tag Archives: Church Planting

Are We Planting Churches or Campuses?

I have recently been having several conversations with people about multi-site churches and it reminded me of a paper I wrote in seminary about this topic. I hope it is useful in getting us thinking about what is a church.

INTRODUCTION

I grew up outside of Washington D.C and until recently my old neighborhood was the home of some serious tobacco farming. For several years of my childhood our house was literally surrounded by a tobacco farm. I remember walking home from school and seeing farmers tilling the soil, planting the seeds, and gathering the tobacco leaves. It was clear to me that my neighbors knew what they were doing. If I asked them anything about tobacco farming they could have told me more than I ever wanted to know. Imagine if one day while I was walking home I asked each of the different farmers what they were planting in the ground. What do you think are the chances that I would have got a different answer from each of them? Each farmer may have different farming methods, but they would never even slightly disagree about what they are planting, right?

Yet, I wonder if I could say the same thing about most pastors and church planters. If I went and asked a large group of pastors and church planters what they are planting, would I get different answers from each one of them? Now, I know that defining and identifying a church is much more complicated and subjective than defining and identifying a tobacco plant. However, I am concerned that many pastors and church planters today are redefining what is a church. All you need to do is begin listening to those pastors and planters who have been advocating the recent multi-site church planting model. If you listen closely to what they are saying about the church and then compare it to what the bible says about the church the differences will be clear.

What I hope communicate in this post is twofold:

1) Provide a biblical and historical definition of the church.

2) Compare that definition with a definition of a multi-site church by quoting the men who are advocating the practice. Continue reading

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Off the Map! – The Character of God and the Cosmic Scope of the Church

The following are my notes of Jorge Mendoza’s breakout session at Legacy 2013 Conference.

Today we are going to look in the book of Ephesians at the big picture view of the church. We could look at Acts and see the church really banging. We could look at 1 & 2 Corinthians and see a church struggling. But today we want to look at God’s view of the church.

1. God Wants to Display His Wisdom

What is wisdom? It is knowledge skillfully applied. God is the only wise God. He is in a category of his very own. No one can light a candle to his wisdom. It is manifold. It is multicolored. It has great variety.

You ever watch a movie and then watch a second time you catch something new you missed the first time. God’s wisdom is like watching a movie again and every time you watch it you see something new every single time.

Who is the audience to whom God is displaying his wisdom? God needs an audience that can appreciate it fully. Who does Paul say this audience is?

It is the heavenly beings. The angels and rulers of heaven. The angelic hosts that did not fall.

We see angels all through scripture. From Genesis, through the Old Testament, all through the life of Christ, and all over the place in Revelation. Usually they are called messengers, but in Ephesians 3 we see that these messengers are being recipients of God’s message of wisdom through the church. Continue reading

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Paul’s Church Planting

The following are my notes of Ed Gravely’s lecture at SEBTS.

We know the following things about how Paul planted a church in Thessalonica by looking at Acts 17:

1. Paul first preached in Thessalonica during his 2nd missionary journey according to Acts 17:1-9.

2. Paul stayed in Thessalonica for at least 3 weeks (Acts 17:2) but probably he stayed there longer (maybe around 6 months?).

3. After Paul left Thessalonica he went to Berea. The Thessalonian Jews tracked him down and incited the Bereans to expel him from the city (Acts 17:10-15).

4. Paul continued his travels and was apparently reached with news of the Thessalonians by Timothy while he was in Corinth.

Continue reading

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Filed under 1 Corinthians, 1 Thessalonians, 2 Corinthians, 2 Thessalonians, Acts, Church Planting, Lectures, Scripture, SEBTS

January Ministry Update

The past month and a half has been quite full of many new exciting ministry opportunities for us. I fear that if I begin writing about all of them, then this newsletter will quickly turn into a long essay ; )

I have tried my best to be brief so that you can get a sense for what has been happening. However, if you would like more info. then I would recommend subscribing to our day-to-day newsletter by clicking HERE.

  • I started a one-on-one evangelistic bible study with Luis, a student from Senn High School. He has been reading the bible each week and always sounds eager to meet with me. He has not yet repented of his sins so please do pray that God will grant him repentance. Continue reading

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5 Photos of 5 Places in Edgewater to Pray For

Photo # 1 – Preaching at Edgewater Baptist Church

Please pray for Phill as he will be preaching at Edgewater Baptist Church this Sunday (December 16th) on Luke 2:14. We ask that God would use this sermon to strengthen the members of the church and rescue the visiting unbelievers.

Photo # 2 – Neighborhood Party at Our House

Please pray for the neighborhood holiday open house that we are hosting this Sunday afternoon and evening. The last two weeks Elly, Gracie, and Phill went around door to door to meet our neighbors and invite them over to our house for this party. We ask God would use this party to help us build meaningful relationships with our neighbors and that we would have wisdom and boldness to share the gospel.

Photo # 3 – Phill’s New Job at the Broadway Armory

A couple weeks ago we started looking for a good “tent-making” job that would not only help support our family financially, but also help us get connected with more people in our community. By God’s grace, we believe we found a great job for Phill. He recently got hired as a sport’s instructor with a small business called “We Got Game.” This picture below is of the Broadway Armory that is just two blocks from our house in Edgewater. The armory is one of several places that Phill will be working at. Please pray for opportunities for the gospel to spread as Phill interacts with his co-workers, the kids he is coaching, the families of these kids, and the many teachers and administrative staff at the various places Phill will be coaching at.

Photo # 4 – Evangelism & Discipleship at Loyola University

Thank you for all of your prayers this last month because the Lord has recently helped us get connected with several students on Loyola’s campus. A couple weeks ago Phill had the chance to meet with the school’s protestant chaplain. Their meeting went really well and the chaplain was very welcoming of the idea of Phill coming to their weekly gatherings, meeting students, finding some students to disciple, and working together with those students to do evangelism on the campus. Alan & Jackson are two of the students that Phill has already connected well with. Please pray for them to help us share the gospel with hundreds of Loyola students who desperately need to hear the gospel.

Photo # 5 – Evangelism at Senn High School

Phill has been the assistant coach to the men’s varsity basketball team since November 1st. The Lord has used this position to open many doors for the gospel with students on the team. Phill is having spiritual conversations and sharing the gospel on a regular basis with several different students and players on the team. Please pray specifically for one student named Luis who said he really wants to know more about the Bible, he has been to our church the last two weeks, and told me he would like to do an investigative bible study through Mark’s gospel to learn more about Jesus.

Thank you for your prayers and Merry Christmas!!!
– Phill & Christine Howell

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October Newsletter

“This is from the LORD”
— Genesis 24:50

This morning I read the story in Genesis 24 that explains how Isaac’s wife, Rebekah, was found. Abraham sent one of his servants to find a non-Canaanite woman for Isaac. Abraham’s servant began his mission by asking God to give him success and his prayer was immediately answered. When the servant was telling Rebekah’s brother, Laban, the story he said that before he could even finish praying Rebekah greeted him (Gen. 24:45). When Laban heard the way God answered his prayer, he said, “This is from the LORD; we have no choice in the matter…Take her and go.” (24:50)

When I read Laban’s response those words jumped out to me! Certainly, the ancient Jewish culture was different than ours today, but I can only imagine all the different thoughts and feelings Laban had about his sister leaving with some stranger’s servant to marry a man he has never met! Yet, regardless of how Laban may have been feeling we do know that when Laban heard how God answered prayer he could not deny this was from the LORD.

I think we can relate a lot with what is going on in this story. This past month we have experienced a vast array of emotions. We began the month with great excitement about finding our new home in Chicago. Then we experienced all the highs and lows of packing and moving. There have been plenty of sad days, as we have had to say our goodbyes to all our friends and family in D.C. There have also been plenty of joyful days as we have met new friends and reconnected with old ones in Chicago. Continue reading

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Planting Missional Churches

Thesis

The thesis of this book is to teach church planters to plant a biblical church in a local culture. This is essentially what he means when he uses the word “missional” throughout the book. In the preface he actually defines missional as “taking the approach of a missionary – being indigenous to the culture, seeking to understand and learn, adapting methods to the mission field – but winding up in the biblical form of a church.”

The rest of the book simply unpacks the above thesis and definition. Stetzer walks the readers through the church planting process and all along the way he explains how to be a “missional” church planter. He explains how to understand the current culture and some of the different church planting models. One of his key points is to understand the difference between an attractional church plant and an incarnational church plant. Therefore, all of his suggestions about how to go about the church planting process have this distinction in view. Missional churches “desire to show the love and care of Jesus Christ in [their] contexts and be Jesus there” (162). Continue reading

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