Mauricio Chenlo is denominational minister for Church Planting, a shared position of Mennonite Mission Network and Mennonite Church USA.
A few months ago I read an article by Dave Page on Church Planters as Spiritual Entrepreneurs that provoked me to think about the uniqueness of initiating a new church community. I have read a lot about church planting and new ways of doing church. This particular article caught my attention because when thinking of someone that does church planting, the first thing that comes to my mind is the notion of starting something out nothing. Obviously there is not such a thing as “nothingness”; there is always something out of which we create something new. But the brilliance of the church planter is that she sets this “something” in motion and begins to transform reality.
An entrepreneur is someone who sets something in motion, who responds to a call, to a need and who decides to get her feet moving with intentionality.
Most people assume that things are as they are and somehow exist because of some fortuitous causality. But actually, someone has produced that product/service for us. All we have to do is grab it, buy it and make it ours. In the case of “church business,” most of us assume that every Sunday, at a certain time in the morning, there is something called church that is going to happen. It’s going to be there, waiting for us to go and be part of. It always gets my attention when I ask church goers the simple question, “How did your church get started?” Normally they answer, “You know, I have no clue, I should do better and learn how my church came about.”
Behind every church there is a group of people, individuals, mission committees or some sort of agency that made church an existing reality.
Most of us tend to forget that someone and something were there from the beginning. Someone had that first idea, initiative and desire to make this happen.
In his article, Dave Page says, “Church planters are spiritual entrepreneurs who know that the odds are stacked against them in starting a successful church, but they’re willing to assume the risk anyway. Unlike a business entrepreneur whose primary goal is to make money, a spiritual entrepreneur’s goal is to make meaning – to see lives changed by the power of God.”
Church planters are risk-takers by nature; they are flexible and adaptive and know that failure is always a possibility. Church planters are leaders who can gather a group of people to join them in accomplishing something new. They persevere in a vision until it becomes a reality.
At Sent 2016 we are imagining a gathering of a significant group of leaders who share a passion in getting something started out of nothing – leaders who have gone the way of failure and success, leaders that have taken and are taking new initiatives in culturally diverse settings across the nation.
Join us at Sent 2016 and in this adventure of risking to explore new ways of doing church.
For more information about registration and scholarships visit our webpage.