At the Genesis of this blog article, my mind drifted to the sundry challenges that church-starts have to experience. I wondered, “Do I explore the financial concerns of church-starts? Delve into the murkiness of church-start membership attendance? Attempt to explain the mysteries of online versus physical building worship locations? Or do I dare broach the subject of sermon preparation for a culturally assorted, spiritually eclectic, church indifferent, economically diverse group of people seeking a Word from God?”
To be honest, it was a challenge to write this blog post! I wanted to be helpful to my fellow church-starters or at least confirm their experiences and offer real-life answers to some of their most pressing problems. The only relevant, reasonable and reliable writing I could birth is; “Church-starting is a process!” And me, being a neophyte to Church-starting thought, “Yeah, yeah, right,” (I thought with a confident and cocky attitude). “A process, right, I got this!”
Two months after my mentor spoke to me about the Church-starting “Process,” and me being humbled by its’ wrangling’s, I spiritually confessed that I needed to understand the Church-start “Process better.” So, I unpretentiously returned to my mentor and when I asked for suggestions to increase my understanding of the Church-start “Process,” she offered me an excellent resource; “Slow Church” by C. Christopher Smith and John Pattison. “Slow Church” reflects on the need to say no to the hyperactivity and slick ways of the world, and to slow down long enough to experience Christianity the way God intended us to, in community, in peace, and unrushed (Craig Cottongim, 2019).
After reading, “Slow Church,” I was convinced that not only was the Church-start “Process” a process which required an intimate relationship bonding process but a process which required consistency and persistency. For one to believe their church would grow from the five to ten members that met at your home to 200 members in two-years is a complete fallacy. This kind of growth is equivalent to the Sower in the seed narrative.
3. And he told them many things in parables, saying: “Listen! A sower went out to sow. 4. And as he sowed, some seeds fell on the path, and the birds came and ate them up. 5. Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and they sprang up quickly since they had no depth of soil. 6. But when the sun rose, they were scorched; and since they had no root, they withered away. Matthew 13:3–6 (NRSV)
Matthew, chapter 13, verses three through six infuses the understanding that those seeking incredible and immediate growth are like those whose seeds have fallen on rocky ground and do not reach the depth of soil necessary to be firmly planted to take root to be a strong producer of a harvest. Like myself, I wanted to have a large number of attendees every Sunday, financial backing to cover the cost of the many community ministries I wanted to enact and the support of my fellow yokeman of the ministry of Christ Jesus, only to be dismayed and dissolutioned. And deep in the recesses of my heart, mind, and soul, I could hear my mentor’s voice saying, “It’s a Process.”
So, my brother and sister Church-starter, when your core group dissolves, please understand that everyone who starts with you will not be with you in the end – that’s the “Pruning Process.” When you don’t have enough money to pay for the building you’re renting, maybe God wants you to be unfettered with debt – that’s part of the “Liberation Process.” When that sermon doesn’t quite come together before Sunday, sometimes God simply wants to hear from those with you and not just you – That’s the “Imitate Relationship Process.”
Lastly, remember, “You may plant, Apollos may water, but God grants the increase.” Stay consistent and persistent, for he who has begun a great work in you is faithful to bring it to fruition through our Lord and Savior Christ Jesus.
(Retrieved May 19, 2019, from https://craigcottongim. blogspot.com/2014/11/getting-up-to-speed-on-book-slow-church.html).