Missional Church Planting or Misguided? – Describing the Sending Church (Part 1)

Blue Church on the Highway is all about the kingdom of God.  Pastor Jason is a mover and a shaker.  His heart is to bring the glory of God to the nations, including his own.  Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and the ends of the earth won’t know what hit them.

Yellow Church of Broad Valley has also bought into the Great Commission.  Pastor Joey desires to support missions in any way possible, including missionaries who ‘cold call’ the church.  His neighborhood might not change that much because of Yellow’s influence, but by God, the world will be changed by Christ one missionary at a time.

The thirty-two missionaries that Yellow partners with at $50 per month are changing the world.  The money is coming into the offering plate and being funneled back out to twenty-five key mission agencies that Yellow partners with.  What an awesome God he is, to offer complexity, diversity and limitless opportunities for the gospel to go out.

If only Yellow Church could be more like Blue Church.

Jason’s focus is admirable.  His ten year church plant plan was so purposeful, so infused with resurgent methodology, that he didn’t need to show it to anyone else.  Being missional was at the forefront through the methodical, detail-oriented plan that would extend Blue to the nation of Central Furnia.  Furnia would change by God’s grace, current thinking, and Jason’s persistent vision.

It is the church that plants the church.  Jason saw no need, no biblical reason, to use a sending agency.  He would go it alone, with God of course, and his disciples that he would raise up to match his God-ordained vision.  During Jason’s trip to Central Furnia, God laid out the vision on a napkin over a lunch of stuffed cabbage.

Jason’s vision clarified further when God sent Molly and Martin earlier in the year to Blue Church.  Molly and Martin felt called to missions and even went forward at a missions conference eight years earlier at a different church, but had yet to see anything come to fruition.  Neither had they received much missions training or preparation or studied theology, history, or hermeneutics.  Enter Jason and his vision for Furnia.

“I never dreamed that we’d live in Furnia,” Molly told Jason after one strategy session.  Martin concurred, “Furnia is God’s, Blue’s, ours.”  The three of them wrote detailed plans of how Blue’s philosophy of mission would evangelize two million Furnians within seven years, the perfect amount of time.

Seven years was longer than Yellow Church had been in existence, and yet, Yellow’s income generation rocked the valley.  Every church wanted to be like Yellow Church because they were touching the unreached through 32 missionaries partnering with 25 agencies.  Impressive.  Not as impressive as their goal of 100 missionaries and 50 agencies.

They also hoped to increase their support for each missionary by an unheard of 20% to $60.  Another ten dollars per month per missionary would go a long way, Joey reasoned, especially once the $25 million building program was completed.

Molly and Martin began their fundraising and wanted to approach other churches for partnership but Jason objected.  “Blue Church will meet all of your needs.  You don’t need anyone else.”  Martin liked the idea of not having to go all around the United States asking for money, but he was concerned not to put all of his eggs in one basket.  “I’ve been researching sending agencies and want to pursue Gospel Go as our sending agency.”

“What?  You don’t need a sending agency.  God doesn’t need a sending agency.  God built the church.  We are going to do this.”  Jason was insulted.

Molly and Martin liked Pastor Jason’s passion but wasn’t so sure that Blue Church had the resources to do it on their own.  Still, they obeyed their pastor, for the most part, and after eight months found themselves in Furnia.  Just to be safe though, they went behind Jason and raised some additional financial and prayer support from friends, family, and a handful of other churches.

They approached Yellow Church because they had heard that Yellow Church was a missions-minded church that supported missionaries well but were disappointed when the missions committee said that they could not support them right now.  “Our budget is a little stretched because we just brought on eight new missionaries,” the missions chair told them, “but we will consider you in future budget years.”

After a few months on the field in Central Furnia, Molly and Martin were drinking coffee at Cafe Lux, responding to email, when they saw a message from Pastor Jason saying that some changes were coming that might affect their ministry.  Two of the twelve issues that Jason raised were particularly disconcerting.

Read Part 2 for Jason’s troubling email to Molly and Martin.

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