Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The Apostolic Church Planter

Although I did not know him, I have been thinking about Jorge Osorio’s mission plan for organizing churches with Hisapanics for Christ. Organize a group of disciples quickly and then move on. This intriguing idea/method/call sounds appropriate and was effective. But was it biblical?
I think maybe it was.
What if a church planter is not so much the "pastor" of a church as much as he is an organizer of churches, playing the role of apostle, with (almost) sole authority to organize a group of Christians in to a classical-biblical congregation [preach the gospel, administer the sacraments, practice discipline]. Where and when a church is finally "organized" an apostle moves on, leaving a pastor/elder team to lead the church and a congregational government to act in large, or "apostolic" decisions.
Isn't this what Paul, Barnabas, and the other (unmentioned?) disciples, who seem to have shortly left Jerusalem presumably to organize churches did? Moving from city to city evangelizing and gathering and then moving on. Apocryphal or not, there are no histories of specific churches where Thomas, Bartholomew or James the Less ruled from outside Jerusalem. If anything all of the apostles seemed to operate as itinerant organizers, starting churches as they went, leaving pastor-shepherds behind in their good gospel-wake.
A seminal idea at least, but I think it could be a missing piece of strategy that prevents church planting efforts from becoming church planting movements. Not being a church planter I could be way off the mark, but I would like to explore this idea further.

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