“Where there is no vision the people perish.” So says the writer of Proverbs.
Experienced church planter, Curtis Sergeant*, tells of his frugal Christmas shopping routine for his mother. She loved jigsaw puzzles. He would buy her one or more, always on sale every year. There was only one problem; she was so good that they were complete in less than an hour.
Then he arrived at another plan. Give her a puzzle but not the box it came in. Without the picture it would then take her longer. It did but still there were only a couple hours of enjoyment until the puzzle was complete.
Curtis’ mother retired and it was time for the ultimate plan. Twelve city landscape puzzles with no boxes and all the pieces mixed together. Cruel but effective. Three years later she finally accomplished the mission.
The point is that one clear picture of the preferred future is essential to any effort…especially church planting. While there is uniqueness to each vision is there a core reality that is true for all?
I believe the answer to that question is yes. As best I can tell, nowhere in scripture are we told to plant churches. We are however clearly commissioned to make disciples. Church planting is the outflow of effective disciple making given the corporate nature of discipleship. I believe the core reason to plant churches is the effectiveness of new works in producing more and better followers of Jesus! If you keep the vision of disciple making in front of people…like the puzzle boxes…they won’t forget the picture of what they are trying to achieve.
* Curtis Sergeant led an amazing disciple making movement in China and now teaches principles of disciple making through META Camp. You can find more information at www.metacamp.org.