Thursday, September 06, 2007

The DNA of a Church On Mission
From the very beginning, one of the credos that I have continually repeated at NorthStar is that, "We are not a mission church, but a church on mission!" It's been so overstated that some would think it's a mantra. But it's more than's our DNA!

I made two promises to our core group in the earliest days of the planting process. We will refuse to act our AGE and we will refuse to act our SIZE. That meant that we would always expect and accept God-sized assignments without fear or hesitation. Below are just a few examples:

Three months after arriving on the field, we tackled our first major outreach event...the Polar Plunge Warmup. We served some 50 gallons of free hot chocolate and coffee to onlookers and the faithful, frozen few who dared to jump into the icy waters of Lake CDA. (I also jumped about becoming all things to all people...)

  • Within months, we had prayerwalked thousands of homes.
  • We surveyed countless subdivisions.
  • We sent out construction teams to assist with other church building projects.
  • We sent 5 teams to New Orleans and the Mississippi Gulf Coast to do Disaster Relief in the wake of Katrina.
  • We took on sports camps, block parties, conspiracy of kindness projects, surveys, music camps, kids camps.
  • We held wild game suppers for men called, "BEAST FEASTS" and bunco nights for the ladies.
  • We linked arms with our local chamber of commerce to assist with the IronMan Triathlon.
  • We connected with a local crisis pregnancy center and offered financial support.
  • We established DivorceCare and Financial Peace courses to meet the needs of hurting people.
  • We've taught our people to give generously to missions.
  • We've taught our people to cheer for, pray for, love and support missionaries.
  • We've taught our people to BE missionaries!
  • Our Life Groups have started prayer adoptions of people groups and church planters
  • We held On-mission celebrations.
  • We sent out teams to help with VBS in other churches.
  • We recently commissioned and sent out our first international team.

I share these things not to brag on what we did...but to point out that the DNA of a healthy, missional church plant will demonstrate itself in activity. We dreamed big, but our dreams were founded in God's abilities, not our own! One of my heroes in Christendom is Hudson Taylor, pioneer missionary to China. He once said, "God isn't looking for people of great faith, but for individuals ready to follow Him".

That sums it up...Teach your people that message alone...point them to Christ!

One more note about DNA. Richard Harris, VP of the Church Planting Group of the North American Mission Board drives this point home (here). Spiritual health brings about healthy spiritual reproduction.

Healthy Christians, by the empowerment of the Holy Spirit, reproduce other Christians. Healthy churches, by the power of the Holy Spirit, reproduce themselves in ministry, Bible study units, and new congregations. Existing churches need to be the sponsors to accomplish this reproduction.