Sunday, September 19, 2004

CPM - 7 obstacles

7 obstacles for Church Planting Movements
From the CPM booklet available here

1. Imposing extra-biblical requirements for being a church
When a mission, union or convention attempts to require a congregation to have extra-biblical things such as land, a building, seminary-trained leadership or paid clergy before granting them full status as a church, a CPM is obstructed.
2. Loss of a valued cultural identity.
When a people have to abandon their valued ethnic identity and adopt an alien culture in order to become believers, the cause of church planting won’t go far. Around the world, churches that look culturally out of place in their setting serve as testimonies to this obstacle.
In too many instances, church planting has become cultural warfare, as missionaries and local Christians attempt to conquer and change the culture rather than the hearts of the people.
3. Overcoming bad examples of Christianity
Unfortunately, the spread of the gospel around the world has sometimes produced churches that are poor examples of the faith. Some patterns of church behavior may not be immoral, but still compromise and undermine the spirit of a CPM. Whenever older churches in the area feel no compulsion to spread their faith, new believers may question why they should be passionate or urgent in evangelism.
4. Non-reproducible church models
Whenever missionaries begin planting churches with components that cannot be reproduced by the people themselves, they have undermine a CPM. The temptation is always there: it seems quicker and easier to import a solution for a local challenge rather than search for an indigenous solution.
Authentic CPMs always take on the appearance of their context. CPM practitioners evaluate every aspect of each church start with the question: “Can this be reproduced by these believers?” If the answer is no, then the foreign element is discarded.
5. Subsidies creating dependency
When well-intended outsiders prop up growth by purchasing buildings or subsidizing pastor’s salaries, they limit the capacity of the movement to reproduce itself spontaneously and indigenously.
6. Extra biblical leadership requirements
New Testament models are found in Christ’s selection of the twelve (Matt 4:18-22) and Paul’s criteria for bishops and deacons (I Tim 3). It is striking that moral character and willingness to follow Christ are given much greater weight than theological training or academic degrees.
7. Sequentialism
Missionaries who have successfully navigated CPMs describe a different, nonlinear unfolding of the movement.
8. Planting frog rather than lizard churches
Frog churches perceive themselves as ends in themselves, sitting fat and complacent on a hill or lilly pad, expecting the lost to come to them in search of salvation. They hold meetings in places where they feel comfortable and require the lost to adapt to their world. Lizard churches are always pursuing the lost. Adaptable and ready for action, they move quickly into the world through cracks and crevices seeking the lost. They are willing to change their colors, expend enormous energy, even lose their tails if necessary in order to bring the lost into the family of God.
9. Prescriptive strategies
CPM practitioners are intensely inquisitive and committed to learning where and how God is at work. Whenever missionaries enter a field with a pocket full of answers rather than a heart that is hungry to watch and learn where God is at work and what He is doing, they are limiting His ability to use them.

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