In the circles I run in (which is a pretty small circle, I know) we talk about “the man” approach to church planting. In the US, “the man” approach is the most exercised of church planting strategies. It goes like this: To plant a church, you have to find the right “man.” They have to be vetted, have an obedient and submissive wife/family, the proper training and mentoring. You find the man: you plant the church.
If you don’t believe me please attend _____ conference on church planting.
Well… in cross-cultural church planting we work hard not to have “the man.” We want the indigenous people to be ones who lead the church. If you have a hankering to preach on Sundays then you should stay here in the USA. It’s just not what makes movement of churches planting churches happen.
In CPM (church planting movement) strategies, the big idea is to see indigenous disciples reproduce themselves. The church springs into existence because you have disciples (which is backwards from our North American model: we tend to think that churches make disciples but it’s actually the other way around).
I do wonder, though, if we are creating a new “man” model within CPM. I keep hearing about the same 4-5 individuals as the gurus of CPM. They call themselves “catalyzers” and emphasize all things Kingdom. They often use phrases like “in the movements we see…” and everybody leans in on their every word.
There are many ways to do movement-focused ministry. Let’s not let a small cabal of insiders take over as the experts because they emphasize a particular methodology. I would prefer people understood the broader concepts behind movements and let the specifics of how it plays out in a local context be handled locally.
We don’t need another “the man” approach to church planting.