Our family took some long distance vacations. One summer, we covered 7,500 miles in 14 days. Along the way we saw Rocky Mountain National Park, Arches National Park, Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon, the Grand Canyon, Las Vegas, Sequoia National Park, and Yosemite National Park. We crossed the Golden Gate Bridge, drove through the redwoods of northern California, breezed through Oregon, stopped in Olympia and Seattle, and cruised through Glacier National Park and the North Dakota Badlands before finishing the stretch drive back home. It was a long journey. It was a fun journey. It was one of the best two weeks of our lives.
The key to a trip like that is to know where you’re going. This was pre-GPS days, so I made sure I had a good map. To keep it simple, I broke it down into daily units. That allowed me to focus on one step at a time. Barring an emergency, I knew where we needed to be at the end of each day.
The same approach is helpful when navigating church planting. Giving birth to a new congregation can be a long journey. The road can be hard to navigate. Sometimes church leaders aren’t sure which way to turn. As with most journeys, the key is a good map. And that’s why the GARBC has started the Genesis Initiative. We want to help church leaders get started in the right direction.
It’s best to start with prayer. Engage your church in praying for lost people in their lives and in their neighborhoods. Help them see the needs in your community. Set an example by praying regularly during your public services. Share personal stories of outreach from your own life. Pray for church plants in your region. As your church family connects with the heart of God in prayer, the Spirit will draw them into the mission of God.
Once that happens, you are ready to develop a vision for outreach and reproduction. Invite a church planter to share his story with your congregation. Interview people who have come to Christ through a new church. Provide opportunities for lay people from a parent church to share their stories with your congregation.
Meanwhile, start preparing for the trip that lies ahead. Create space in your in your budget. Develop leaders. Train people in evangelism and discipleship. Make sure you have all the “drivers” you need. Start packing the luggage, and loading the bus. You want as many people on board as possible so you’re ready to hit the road when God says it’s time to go.