Dr. D.T. Niles of Sri Lanka had this to say about planting the seed of the Gospel rather than planting church expressions:
“The gospel is like a seed, and you have to sow it. When you sow the seed of the gospel in Palestine, a plant that can be called Palestinian Christianity grows. When you sow it in Rome, a plant of Roman Christianity grows. You sow the gospel in Great Britain and you get British Christianity. The seed of the gospel is later brought to America, and a plant grows of American Christianity. Now, when missionaries come to our lands they brought not only the seed of the gospel, but their own plant of Christianity, flowerpot included! So, what we have to do is to break the flowerpot, take out the seed of the gospel, sow it in our own cultural soil, and let our own version of Christianity grow.”
I have taken to telling people: Don’t plant churches! Plant Jesus. Plant the Gospel of the Kingdom. Church will grow naturally from that, and reproduce organically.
The core importance of God’s church is not how the followers are organized, discipled or helped. The core reality of God’s church is Jesus Christ being followed, loved and obeyed by His people. All else is consequence rather than cause. It all starts with a relationship with Jesus; and since Jesus is on mission to seek and save the lost so are his followers.
Christ alive, forming spiritual families and working with them to fulfill His mission, is the living reality of church 3.0. The church really is an embodiment of the risen Jesus. No wonder the Bible refers to the church as the body of Christ.
When we lose sight of our true mission we can no longer determine if we are a true success or a disaster. The mission determines the success or failure.