How To Have Real, Lasting Impact As A Church Planter

impact

I bought my first car in the summer of 1971. I purchased it from a little old lady who lived on Lover’s Lane in my town (I couldn’t make this up). It was a 1966 Volkswagen Beetle with 4-speed on the floor. It had less than 10,000 miles on it. It was truly “just like off the showroom floor.” A serviceman from the local VW dealership would come to her home around November 1 each year and winterize the car in her heated garage including putting it up on blocks. The next Easter season he would return and prepare it for use again.

By the time it was decorated for Leslie and me to drive to our exotic honeymoon in Cleveland in April 1973, there were already signs of corrosion bubbles on a couple of fenders. Two years of driving back and forth from Ann Arbor to Alliance, OH on the salt-encrusted Ohio Turnpike and sitting outdoors year-round at the Sig Ep house on the University of Michigan campus took a toll on that little, green “love bug.”

A non-negotiable value of the church planting ministry with which I serve – Stadia – is impact.

So why the touching story of my ’66 Beetle? For five years, road salt and a harsh environment of rain and snow, ice and freezing temperatures never harmed that “precious moment” automobile. Then an 18-year-old kid bought it and the rest was history. The point: without contact, there is no impact.

Jesus put it this way: “Let me tell you why you are here. You’re here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of this earth. If you lose your saltiness, how will people taste godliness? You’ve lost your usefulness and will end up in the garbage” (Matthew 5:13 – The Message). If the salt doesn’t get out of the shaker, it has no impact. Nothing is purified. Nothing is flavored. Nothing is preserved.  If the road salt never touches the fenders, no rust forms. The chemical collision of sodium chloride and iron never happens. There is no impact without contact.

As Stadia team members and church planting leaders, we’re expected by God and Stadia’s Executive Director (same difference J) to be catalysts for transformation … to be agents of change … to be the salt of the earth … to be in contact so there will be impact.
  • We don’t just send email and text messages – we reach out personally and with urgency to call forth involvement and solicit commitment to the Great Commission.
  • We don’t just answer calls and “like” Facebook posts – we initiate contacts in order to sow seeds in good soil for a fruitful harvest. And we are disciplined enough to monitor those sown fields – to water, weed, and fertilize so there will be abundant sheaves to bring in at harvest time.
  • We don’t wait for balls to be thrown to us and then try to catch them – we gladly take the mound and pitch our best stuff. We “pitch” opportunities, vision, and possibilities for changed lives and transformed neighborhoods, communities, and cultures through new church multiplication.
  • We don’t out of laziness, pridefulness, or selfishness maneuver to hog the impact for ourselves – rather we constantly look for chances to empower and resource others with the dynamic, compelling vision of planting churches for 7 billion reasons. And why do we do this? For the synergy and exponentiality of it all!

We have real impact – lasting, life-altering impact – when we activate tipping point after tipping point. When we release domino chain after domino chain.  Passivity won’t cut it. Reactivity isn’t good enough. When day after day we get out there and knock, ask, and seek, we make contact. Contact with God who refreshes His vision in us. Contact with God’s people who are His instruments of reconciliation and eternal change.

Let’s remember: without contact, there will be no impact. And that is just unacceptable.