Last year I started (but never finished) a look through each chapter of Mike Bett’s book Relational Mission: A way of life. As a reminder here are the links to the previous 5
- A real family
- Raising sons & daughters
- Everyone a witness
- The prayers of many
- A church for a broken world
This sixth chapter is all about church planting. Relational Mission has its origins in Newfrontiers which grew substantially through church planting in many nations. Mike is clear that starting new churches is in our history, it’s in our DNA, it’s in our calling.
God’s Plan A is the local church. His desire is that as a people group is reached, local churches are started. This enables the new disciples to find a home from where they can worship & serve Him…. We’re committed to an ongoing vibrant and expansive vision of church planting in nation after nation.
Mike calls for every church and every Christian to develop a love and passion for church planting and for every church to work out how they can be actively involved in starting, sending or supporting new church plants. Yet because the heart of the book is ongoing relationships, this is not seen as starting a franchise or an organisation but in terms of family.
We need to learn how to start new churches now and carry on starting new churches in the future. A vital key for me is that church planting must be relationally-based. It’s friends, together on a mission, operating with maximum relationship and minimum organisation. Church plants thrive in a relational environment in which the spirit of those involved flourishes. We must invest in building & maintaining relationships above all.
Mike then shares some stories from church planters in France, Finland & the UK and urges those over 50 to get involved in the mission. There are short sections on how to establish supply lines from existing churches to plants, the need to keep things simple and then finishes by focusing with a call to freshly re-evangelise Europe.
Well we’re in. We’re doing it. We sold up and moved ourselves to a new nation, learnt a new language and have invested (so far) 5 years of our life in planting Grace Church in Stockholm. This is the second church we’ve started, so we don’t need convincing and we’ve experienced first hand Mike’s efforts to keep it relational, to invest in us personally and from the team to help us when it’s hard and to do all they can to help us succeed. They’ve basically said, ‘as long as you’re in it, we’re in it’ and that’s meant a great deal.
Church planting in Europe can be tough, cross cultural mission can be tough, and the support of a spiritual family to your ongoing well-being is so appreciated. I guess the best I can say is, I’m glad that we’re working to extend the kingdom of God with this family of churches.