Friday, July 5, 2013

Why I am Planting an Anglican Church in Little Rock

The research is in regarding the benefits of church planting. Ralph Moore, in his book, STARTING A NEW CHURCH: THE CHURCH PLANTERS GUIDE TO SUCCESS, in the chapter titled Why Should You Plant a Church?[1] lists the following as reasons to step out and "go for it":
  1. New churches provide superior results when it comes to outreach results. If we are going to impact the world for Christ we need far more labor in the harvest (Matthew 9:35-38). We need more churches as frontline bases in the spiritual conflict.[2]
  2. More churches produce a better harvest. One American denomination recently found that 80% of its converts came to faith in Jesus in churches less than two years old.[3]
  3. New churches speak best to the next generation.
  4. New churches move the gospel across cultural lines.
  5. New church open doors for very poor people.
  6. New churches offer a better use of resources. They require minimal overhead.
  7. New churches expand the leadership pool of the kingdom.
  8. New churches tend to be more flexible and accepting when it comes to moving with the Holy Spirit.
  9. New churches provide established churches with their most efficient method of growth: multiplication through planting a church.
  10. Church planting was the chosen tool of Jesus and the Apostles.
  11. Aggressive church expansion works! “Forsake what does not work for what does. With that in mind, you need to discover whether you have what it takes to multiply the church.”[4]
These are general principals that may be used to justify any attempt at church planting by a Christ centered, Gospel driven church, of which Little Rock has many. But why another Anglican church in Little Rock? 

For some time now I have sensed a need for an additional type of Anglican witness in our city to go along side what God has done at St. Andrew's. It takes a variety of churches to reach the many different types of people who are currently without Christ (St. Andrew's has been a powerful tool in God's hands to bring the message of the Gospel to Little Rock for almost two decades) and the presence of New Hope Anglican should not be perceived as an automatic negative commentary on the work and ministry of St. Andrew's. What we will be doing will be different from St, Andrew's, but complementary. It is my desire that New Hope maintains a healthy relationship with St. Andrew's as we move forward.

Here are some of the distinctives undergirding New Hope Anglican Church.

  1. New Hope will be committed to Anglican church multiplication in Little Rock and Arkansas, from the very outset. In other words, a church that plants other churches.
  2. New Hope will be committed to the historic understanding of the Anglican Church and its governmental structures. In other words, the historic understanding of the four offices in the church of laity, deaconate, priesthood and bishop. Each with its God given roles and calling within the body of Christ.
  3. New Hope will embrace and be committed to being a part of the unified movement of Anglicanism in the west toward the emerging province of the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA).
  4. New Hope will continue to partner with the Province of Rwanda as God provides opportunity in gratitude for the risk taken on our behalf when we needed protection from heterodoxy.
  5. New Hope will be committed to finding, equipping and releasing new Anglican clergy who are called to lead and plant churches in Arkansas and beyond. We will work with emerging leaders from any segment of orthodox Anglicanism in order to acheive this goal.
New Hope will proudly carry with it the same heart for the least and the lost that has been and continues to be evident at St. Andrew's through St. Andrew's commitment to work with recoverying addicts and its ongoing commitment to Wilson Elementary School.

The bottom line is that I am starting a church in Little Rock because I am compelled to do so. I love this city and I believe that there is more that God wants to do here and I believe that in His mercy He is going to allow a bunch of imperfect Anglicans (along with other imperfect followers of His Son) to have an even greater impact than we current are having, and I believe I have a role to play in that as a leader.

[1] Moore, Ralph, Starting a New Church: the Church Planters Guide to Success; Chapter 2
[2] Ibid, 23
[3] Ibid, 23
[4] Ibid, 29

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