Church Planting vs. Church Entrepreneurship
Have you ever planted a new tree? If you have, you know it takes a long time to grow. The Bible says that the disciples of Christ (that’s you, if you are a Christian) are a lot like that. So it stands to reason that church planting, which is what we are doing in Arlington with Trinity Church, is a lot like building a forest. It takes a long time.
Being Americans, we often take our cues from our results-oriented culture. That’s not always bad. Americans are good at getting results. But when it comes to the church of Jesus Christ, I believe we are talking about two different things. I call them church planting and church entrepreneurship. Let me explain.
Church planting is just that… planting a church. You may start with one person or family and build from there or even better, you begin with dozens of committed Christians who live as missionaries in the place you are planting. You plant the flag of The Gospel and begin absolving confessed sins, blessing things that God says are good and consecrating lives to be lived for Jesus Christ. You patiently wait, like a farmer or forester and ply your craft.
Church entrepreneurship is a little different. You have a much faster timeline. You often expect big results within less than 18 months. You almost certainly start with a lot of people and you offer many attractional things, like a nice facility, impressive preaching or really cool programs with kids. You are closely watching the results of what you do and tweaking your plan to achieve results in a shorter span of time. The goal is achieving a strong foundation quickly so you can transition to the more traditional Christian practices from there.
If either strategy produces a Christ-centered church that impacts lives in a sanctifying way, I am for it. At Trinity Church, we have elected to use the church planting strategy. So when people ask me how the church is going, I feel like a farmer who is being asked how the crops are doing. It’s hard to answer, but things are progressing, by God’s grace.
Whatever type of church God calls you to, do it faithfully, as a missionary and continue to point people to the Christ of Holy Scripture. If you and I do that, no matter how we got started, we will wind up in a very good place.