A long time ago I came across this quote, “He who aims at nothing, often hits his target”. What we are aiming for, what we are trying to achieve, can make a very real difference to what we accomplish with our lives.
Consider church. The aim of many western churches is to have the full time pastor, establish the Sunday School, age related ministries such as Kids Club and retirees lunch, and of course the mid-week home groups. Outreach is largely through organised meetings such as a Holiday Bible Club or a men’s event. The emphasis is on adding to the church. If growth in numbers is seen then this means we add more services, add more home groups, basically creating a bigger church. That’s how we tend to do it in the West. Big is beautiful, drawing people from a larger geographical area to the central location of the church service. But what would happen if we multiplied churches? As each new church spread the gospel in its own locality, would we not reach more people?
The other aspect of a western church style is that we place a huge emphasis on teaching. Please don’t misunderstand, I think teaching the Word of God is essential, the problem is so often that our lives don’t live out the teaching we receive. So often churches in Asian countries have a fraction of the teaching we take for granted in the West, yet they run so much farther and faster than we do, achieving so much more for God. Again let me add that teaching is important, but so often we fail to live what we learn about God.
Finally I have seen in my work good engineers, who would be my first choice to undertake technical work, but they have little interest in training the next generation of engineers. But I have also seen good engineers who do want to train the next generation of engineers. Training has an overhead attached to it (e.g. explaining how things are done, newbies don’t work as quickly as the experienced practitioner), but ultimately more gets done – in the end you have two engineers not one! Maybe we would church plant more, reproduce churches more, if we did more in-church training …
One Answer To The Issues
A good friend recently sent me a series of links to videos, based upon a system called Training4Trainers (T4T). The videos below address the issues raised above. Here are some links of the links he sent:
- T4T Introduction (2 mins)
- A reproducing church (27 mins)
- Training as opposed to just teaching (24 mins)
- Leaders who reproduce (47mins)
Maybe we can learn from other cultures!