One of my favorite animation movies I enjoy watching with my son is called Ratatouille. The movie is about a rat that is able to cook with exceptional gifting in a human restaurant. The tagline of the movie is, “Anyone can cook…even a rat.” Loathsome as the film’s connection may seem, that tagline has challenged me to believe that anyone can plant a church.
Yes, I know what church leaders might be thinking: Terms and Conditions apply. Here are a few:
“Anyone” must be a believer in Christ.
“Anyone” must be following the basics of the Christian walk and faith.
“Anyone” should have a character above reproach.
But, then, what next? Are more Terms and Conditions necessary?
Many in our churches meet the above terms and conditions but are waiting for somebody to tell them what to do next. Many “anyones” live without purpose just because nobody told them they have the potential to plant a church.
In the context of our city, we believe the best way to reach our community is through house churches in every neighborhood. With over 18 million people in the city, expecting a limited ‘full-time’ pastoral team to do whatever it takes to reach the city is unwise and unrealistic. That’s when our Senior Pastor and pastoral team started to believe that every member in our church has the potential to reach their unsaved friends and neighbors. That’s when we started teaching that ‘anyone’ can plant a church by leading a house church in his or her neighborhood.
May I introduce you to some of our “anyones”?
“Anyone” can be a retired school teacher who just turned 75 years.
“Anyone” can be a full-time professional who is working over 40 hours a week.
“Anyone” can be a housewife with 4 growing children.
“Anyone” can be a college student who is committed to excel in her studies.
“Anyone” can be a teenager with all of his educational responsibilities.
Over the last 10 years, God has given us the privilege to see what happens when we let loose ‘anyone’ to pursue God’s calling on their lives in the neighborhood. ‘Anyone’ empowered by the Holy Spirit brings change to our city. Friends and neighbors from other faiths are experiencing Jesus and his miracles. Families are getting transformed.
We are experiencing God change the spiritual landscape of our city. It is happening because unnamed, unseen, faithful believers in our church have decided to follow God’s Word for their lives and go out and do something about it. It is happening because the pastoral team decided to empower ‘anyone’ to go and plant.
We arrange the following steps to be empowered as a planter:
- Grow through our church discipleship program.
- Fellowship in the house church closest to their home.
- More than focusing on training them to be cutting edge leaders, we want people to show the love of Christ in acts of service wherever they attend the house church.
- Everyone is invited to share life together with their seeking neighbors and friends by either opening their home for a house church or going somewhere close by and leading a house church.
When “anyone” faithfully honors the above key elements of this God-given invitation, he or she is ready to plant a church. We then engage in the following steps:
- Be trained in our basic leadership program. This could happen simultaneously as they plant the house church.
- Encourage ‘anyone’ to plant by either opening their home for the house church or going to serve somewhere else in a house church.
- Gain Experience co-leading with another experienced planter in a house church for a season. Experience could include leading different segments of the worship service from simply leading short discussions, leading in prayer and even leading in singing.
- Provide simple teaching material which could be the biggest fear for ‘anyone’ actually leading a house church.
- Kickstart a new house church with ‘anyone’ leading from the front assisted by more ‘anyones.’
On a weekly basis, I meet many ‘anyones’ and I am inspired by all that they do for His Kingdom.
Let me tell you about Mrs. Rani (name changed)—one such ‘anyone.’ She is the mother of 4 grown children and a busy high-profile professional who reports into her office at 9 am and logs out at 6 pm. But after 6 pm, she is a woman on a mission to ‘seek and to save the lost’ like her Master. She is one of the zone leaders for our church, giving leadership to over 20 house churches in a vast area of our city. Each of these house churches will have about 15-20 members each, most of whom are first generation followers of Christ.
When she started leading this zone about 7 years ago, there was only 1 house church. She aggressively follows up on proven church plant strategies of prayer walks, evangelism outreaches, and leadership development. The other day I was invited by her to attend her zone leaders’ prayer meeting. We prayed for the city and Mrs. Rani painted the big picture of city transformation before her leaders. She kept reminding her leaders about our senior pastor’s burden for ‘casting the net of God’s care over the city.’
God is changing our world through ‘anyone’ who is fully consecrated to Him.
Anyone can plant. Are you giving them the opportunity? Are you taking the opportunity yourself?