To note: Insiders are internationals who we have trained or added to our team for the purpose of reaching their own or similar people groups here in America. Also to note: when I say Americans, I mostly mean white Americans because from my experience, this makes up the majority of church planters whom I know here in America. We are all capable of changing but it is going to take re-focusing, self-sacrifice, and transformation. Also, I know plenty of hardworking dedicated Americans here in the US who are doing great work, but this is an important lesson that I have learned first-hand and I do not leave myself out of my own criticism as you will see in this post.
Most American church planters know for a fact that churches are planted more rapidly oversees and in South and Central America. The most common reasoning behind this is that people are more desperate because they live in low income societies (or so we think) or under more difficult forms of government. We also think people are just more busy in America and don’t have time for “church” or interest in religious activity. There are of course more reasons and there is truth to all of these, but something that I have learned from my team and the Insiders who we have trained and who are producing churches, who again live here in America, is that these “reasons” do not apply to them. This implies to me that it is not so much that church planting is difficult here, it is that our American mentality of reaching people is weak in the fact that we do not put in the time and sacrifice it takes to be fruitful in church planting. I have certainly been guilty of this. Although many have considered outreach to be a strong suit of mine, and it has at times when done in the right way, but many times I have missed what it truly took to plant churches. I could go out to the most unreached and dangerous places in my city, but just going doesn’t mean I was going to be successful in planting churches. Often times, I would just end up frustrated with trying to make disciples or start groups because I simply was not taking the time and sacrifice needed to invest into people. I truly know now that going and sharing the gospel and asking people if they want to start Discovery Groups is not enough, although I would argue that many of us in America think that it is enough. Many of us are glued to the idea that evangelism is simply sharing the gospel (mostly with people we do not know) and we think we are following the Great Commission. The Insiders who are on my team and who we have trained have truly humbled me in the sense of what it really takes to reach people. They put in the time in regards to building relationships and loving and caring for people. Everyday they are out serving other people, loving people, and meeting needs. So the challenge to myself and all of us is: let’s evaluate how we are trying to make disciples and start Discovery Groups. Making disciples is a life commitment that requires our sacrifice and the denial of self in every part of our lives.
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