This week Mission Alive, our church planting resource organization, is hosting a Strategy Lab for church planters. The lab is the last of three in a process of Mission Alive training modules: the first is the Discovery Lab, for the purpose of assessment; the second is the Theology Lab, for developing theological frameworks for the task of church planting.
The Strategy Lab functions to help planters think through their ministry plan for church planting—cultural analysis, ministry structures, processes of spiritual formation, connecting with non-Christians, etc. At the end of the Lab the planter couple presents their strategy for how the new church will take shape. This strategy becomes the foundation for what will actually happen when the planters hit the ground.
Julie and I first participated in the Strategy Lab in the fall of 2006. We received great training and developed a close bond with our fellow Lab participants (many of whom are now also starting new churches).
The most valuable tools we developed in the Lab were a process of spiritual formation (i.e., steps for facilitating spiritual growth from non-Christian to leader) and a leadership development track. We spent the majority of our apprenticeship period at Christ Journey and Sunrise fleshing out these two tools.
And now I’m headed back to the Strategy Lab to share with other planters what we’ve learned as we’ve applied some of the ideas of the Lab to our church planting context.
I hardly feel qualified for such a role given that we’re still learning so much. At the same time, I love this baton-passing element of Mission Alive. We’re always learning, and the best use of our learning is to share what we’re learning with others.
It reminds me of the Apostle Paul’s philosophy of ministry: “And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others” (2 Timothy 2:2).
This rhythm of learning and sharing applies to all of us whether we’re church planters, parents, engineers or accountants. Indeed, the heart of discipleship is learning what it means to follow the way of Jesus and sharing what we’ve learned with others who are seeking to learn.
What are you learning that you can share? Please share it with me!