Resisting Performance {What we can learn from a church planter}

Seems nearly everyone is “planting” a church these days. Cool. Maybe.

I’ve actually had some fear and trepidation as I’ve followed the journey of church planters primarily via Twitter and word of mouth, “Did you hear whose planting church” community bump-ins. I think it’s cool that men (and I’m not opposed to women) having a passion to see the influence of Christ spread through loving others and bringing them Truth. If a new church will help get that done, great. Plant away. Yet, I way too much a realist (or cynic) to think that this is the reason that every single church planter wants “his own church” and am I not optimistic enough to believe that all the churches planted will survive. (I think my pastor 1 in 8. Yeah. Sobering.) Beyond surviving, I can’t even imagine how many of those will flourish.

Planting is a lot more than just plopping a church in a hole and pulling up an easy chair to watch it grow. Instead, it’s sweat, tears, and blood. Which is sadly wasted when the motive isn’t for people to hear about Christ and have their lives messed up by Him until they become a beautiful picture of grace.

Today I read this from church planter Brandon Cox: “If we fail to intentionally be authentic, we will unintentionally just perform. I’ve performed before. In fact, I’m a recovering performer and have struggled with an addiction to the approval of others, so admitting my weaknesses is tough, but essential. I no longer trust my autopilot to lead me into genuine authenticity. Being real takes effort, and if we aren’t real, nobody heals.”

Right. That’s the thing that’s gone wrong–too much performance. And it’s way too easy and way too celebrated in our churches. When nobody is real, nobody is safe. Brandon’s right–when everyone is desperately living on grace, there is healing; real healing. These are the kind of churches we need. I agree with him that it takes hard work to flex those ‘authentic’ muscles. If we don’t feel it burn, we’re probably faking it.

Churches need to put out of business fake and fancy–be they centuries old or just one day. Imagine the message of hope we could give away to our communities if we exerted effort to be real about the messy, crazy junk for which Christ’s redemption and renewal is actually needed.

This isn’t just true for church planters. It’s got to be true for every single one of us. Painfully true–like all good exercise has to be if it’s going to do any good.

I like your vision, Brandon. It sounds like the gospel to me. (I don’t know Brandon. I don’t think I’ve even read his blog before, but his post today gave me all kinds of crazy hope for the future of the church. You should go read what he said and leave him a word of encouragement…

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