CHURCH PLANTING & “Why” an “emphasis upon conversion” is the best way to grow the church #PeteWagner

by Bob Whitesel D.Min., Ph.D., bi-annual colloquium of the Fellows of the Billy Graham Center for Evangelism at Wheaton College. 12/19/17.

Pete Wagner is often quoted (out of context) saying: “Planting new churches is the most effective evangelistic methodology known under heaven.” Church Planting for a Greater Harvest: A Comprehensive Guide, by C. Peter Wagner (Ventura, CA: Regal Books, 1990), p. 22.

Wagner is not saying this methodology is the key, but rather (in context) that the “emphasis upon conversion” that usually accompanies these new churches is (see Church Planting for a Greater Harvest: A Comprehensive Guide, p. 11, 20-22). As my mentor, Pete Wagner required me to read and critique the above book for my courses (DMin) with him.  -Bob Whitesel, 12/19/17.

C. Peter Wagner was not only a mentor of mine but also my colleague Dr. Rice Brooks (author of the book/movie God’s Not Dead). Brooks and I are Fellows of the Billy Graham Center for Evangelism at Wheaton College. At our bi-annual colloquium Dr. Brooks gave this contextual analysis of what Wagner was saying.

“Church planting is not the best way to grow the church.  Wagner believed that preaching the Gospel is!” -Rice Brooks, Christian apologist, author of the book/movie, God’s Not Dead and fellow disciple of Pete Wagner.

LEAD 565, LEAD 600,

 

DISCERNMENT & How to Be Committed to Evangelism & To Sifting a Culture

QUOTE: “The people we are reaching will see Jesus as a cultural product, rather than a trans-cultural God reaching all cultures with His life-changing and trans-cultural Truth… I am sharing this because sometimes zeal for evangelism can mutate into a zeal for a culture.”

by Bob Whitesel D.Min., Ph.D., 12/4/15.

The purpose of creating a leadership collage is to ensure that a leader’s methodology is adjusted to the unique local context (e.g. via a SWOT analysis) of the people we are called to reach.

If we do not adjust our methodology we often will become colonizers, people who force their culture upon an indigenous culture.  Pete Wagner calls this the “creator complex,” where outreach often fails when missionaries try to create people in their own cultural image.  The people we are reaching will see Jesus as a cultural product, rather than a trans-cultural God reaching all cultures with His life-changing and trans-cultural Truth.

At the same time, we must be careful to sift a culture (Eddie Gibbs’ terminology I use in my book “Inside the Organic Church”) so that we do not adopt elements of a culture that go against the doctrines of Christ.

This sifting is a challenging task, but we have many Biblical examples of how to do this.  For example, evangelism is following in the footsteps of Paul, who adjusted methodology to reach as many as feasible.  He never adjusted theology … but he did adjust methodology.  This is the task of a missionary.  And, because North America is a growing mosaic of cultures, this is now the task of church leaders here.

Remember Paul argued against people who were trying to put their culture upon new converts.  They did it out of sincere conviction and faith.  Yet, Paul and Barnabas reacted so strongly to such Judaizing, that a council in Jerusalem was convened and sided with Paul (see my chapter on a theology of change in the book “Preparing for Change Reactions” for details on Paul’s methodology in Acts).

I am sharing this because sometimes zeal for evangelism can mutate into a zeal for culture.

And, since I want to see more and more people reached for Jesus, I want to ensure leaders are the most effective missionary possible: reaching and sifting cultures for Jesus 🙂

Here to help you reach more people for Jesus!