Good Soil (Part 4)

Last week, I found out that we have four people interested in being a part of our first simple church here in Greenville. The backgrounds of each person got me thinking…

Let me start this post by saying this:  every follower of Jesus Christ must be a disciple (many who claim to be are not) and a discipler (again, many are not).  This series, however, is focused on discipling people who will be part of a new, sprouting church.

First, unchurched and dechurched people are good soil for discipling with a view toward a new church sprouting.  Unchurched people are those who’ve rarely been to church in the past–maybe for a funeral or a wedding, or Christmas and Easter… and some, not even that.  They are totally unfamiliar with church culture.  Dechurched people are those who used to go to church in the past, but at some point unplugged themselves from church for reasons other than a falling out with the leadership or a doctrinal dispute (they went to church as a kid, but as soon as they left their parents’ house, they quit going to church).  Most dechurched people have memories of church culture, but not so much that it will trip them up when it comes to a particular model of church.

Unchurched and dechurched people certainly have baggage–and almost all of it is lifestyle baggage.  They’re not going to get all heated up over a doctrinal dispute or what style of music your church uses or if you meet in a house, a movie theater, or a church building.  Those who are willing to try church are usually open to Jesus, and thus make good soil for discipling… and great people from which a new church will sprout.  Will you have to deal with their lifestyle garbage?  Absolutely.  But it sure beats a churched person wanting to take up vast amounts of your time to debate you on why you do the Lord’s Supper in one particular way over another.

Second, Christians who get it make good soil for discipling.  Sadly, I’m finding that Christians who get it are a rare breed.  But they certainly do exist.  Christians who get it don’t get hung up on the model of church or traditions of a local church or minor doctrinal disputes that aren’t essential to a person’s salvation.  All they care about is Jesus and His kingdom, and seeing those outside the kingdom become citizens of the kingdom and agents of the king.  They are humble, teachable, and thus great soil for discipling… and are a long way toward becoming disciplers.

Last, many churched people aren’t good soil… yet.  Many have weeds and rocks that need to be picked in order to be good soil.  Part of leadership’s job is to help with this process, and encouraging and equipping people to do this themselves.  I think many people who aren’t good soil want to be.  We need to find them, spend time with them, invest in them, and disciple them.  Are there some in our churches that will never make good soil?  Yes, unfortunately.  But let’s not let them deture us from helping others become mature, radical followers of Jesus.

Because the fields are white unto harvest, and the laborers are few.

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About Aaron

Aaron is a follower of Jesus. He's married to his smokin' hot wife Laura and is the father of three adorable girls. He enjoys a robust cigar, a complex root beer, a good movie, writing, football, thought-provoking books, and rousing discussions about subjects you're not supposed to talk about (like theology and politics). Religious people irritate him (because he once was one). He's on a quest to find the perfect dry rub and sauce for ribs.
This entry was posted in Church Planting, Coaching/Mentoring, G-Vegas, Intentional Random Thoughts. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Good Soil (Part 4)

  1. Michael Morris says:

    In some ways, it seems as if you feel that “good soil” is most easily found in those who have no Christian foundation upon which to build (the unchurched and the dechurched…and specifically in this category NOT those who left for doctrinal reasons).

    You specifically “weeded out” those who allow “…minor doctrinal disputes that aren’t essential to a person’s salvation…” to be points of discussion / dispute.

    So I have a question: What about those who have a mature Christian background who, based upon their understanding of the scriptures, desire something more dynamic and personal…perhaps have even left a church for doctrinal reasons…?

    I’m of the opinion that in many cases, theology DOES matter. Simply believing in Jesus isn’t enough, especially if that belief is based upon a view of Christ that does not align with scripture. Would I, by definition, be “bad soil”…?

    • Aaron says:

      Hey Michael,

      Thanks for your insights. Very cool.

      As to your question, remember at the beginning of the post that what I’m referring to is planting churches–some church planters would talk about what kind of people they want in their core group before their church launches. This is similar. Having planted a traditionally structured church before, I can tell you that unchurched, dechurched, and Christians who get it are the best kind of people to have in a pre-launch core group because they don’t have the baggage that disgruntled Christians have (“I don’t like my church’s music.” “I don’t like the preacher.” “I don’t feel like I’m being fed.” And further such consumeristic reasons for ditching their church), and they won’t try to mold the new church into what they think the church should be like.

      I also agree with you that theology does matter. The problem is, too many people are hung up on way too many unessential things–should the Lord’s Supper be a full meal or a snippet of bread and a shot glass of juice; should the staff wear ties, polos, or t-shirts; should we use hymns or pop/rock tunes; a vast majority of end-times things, etc. There are theological beliefs that we must hold with a closed fist, but there are other beliefs that we can hold with an open fist (and agree to be disagreeable). Obviously, I’m not talking about the divinity/humanity of Christ or anything like that.

      As to the mature Christian who desires something more dynamic and personal, who may have left the church for doctrinal reasons, what was the doctrinal reason (was it close fist essential, or open fist non-essential)? Have they exhausted every possible avenue with their current church to try and encourage change? Have they spoken with leaders before making a decision to leave? Have they done their best to not burn bridges? Fortunately, I know people like you’ve described–people who love Jesus, who are doing their best to live on mission with Jesus, and are frustrated by the lack of urgency in their church, and simply want to do something about it. That’s cool. That’s good soil.

      Again, thanks for stopping by and helping me think through this stuff from another angle.

  2. Michael Morris says:

    No, thank you Aaron for your thoughtful response. Your concept of close-fisted vs. open-handed doctrines is interesting, and of the ones you mentioned, I too feel that these are the open-handed ones.

    You mentioned that one should exhaust every possible avenue within their current church to try and encourage change…not sure that is applicable when one is a part of the large machines that some churches have become, but it is something to further reflect upon, and for that I thank you. And the burning bridges part “shouldn’t” enter into it if we are approaching our brothers and sisters in Christ with love, but things can get heated I suppose. Being gentle, yet loyal to our understanding of the scriptures can often times at least “seem” to be at odds with one another.

    My prayers are with you as you endeavor to serve our Lord.

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