The Multiplying Church 3 – Intentional

I’m gonna do a few series kind of interacting with and starting discussions about themes in some books on church planting. This first series comes out of the The Multiplying Church.

The forward to this book is written by Ed Stetzer, who explains that for a church to be faithful, it must be incarnational, indigenous, and intentional. I’ll hit each of those ideas in three posts today. This is number three:

Intentional churches are “strategic about worship style, evangelistic methods, attire, service times, locations, and other matters.” There are some non-negotionals – preaching the bible, worship, discipleship, baptism. But methodologies are determined by how effective they’ll be in our specific cultural context.

Now some Christians will argue with this because they hold the view that everything is non-negotiable – and so the style we’ve always done music is still the right style, our old method of evangelism is still the right method, our service times (which were originally chosen because we were a farming community, and there’s no longer a farm within 20 miles) are still the right service times, and polyester is definitely still the right fabric for our suits. These are people who have never read Romans 15 and 16. They’ve made idols of their methods.

But here’s what I wonder: I’m sure anyone who reads this blog would agree that (though we can’t change our message) we can change our methods, but I wonder how we choose our methods. Have the methods your church uses (like your style of preaching and worship, your service times, the way you do small groups, what your web site looks like, the form discipleship takes in your church) truly been determined by what is most effective in your specific cultural context, or by something else? (Like maybe you carry on what you’ve always known, or you copy what’s been proven effective in some other church’s specific cultural context, or you do what keeps your core people happy because you hate confrontation?)

And, second question: Let’s say you were starting a new church in a cultural context that was new to you. How would you go about determining what methodologies would be most effective?

Tell me what you’re thinking…

– featured on