Maybe you’re sick of hearing about church in hard places. I mean, there’s a book about it, there was a conference about it and it periodically gets brought up on platforms. I don’t particularly think that is overkill but, maybe for you, it is. Maybe you’re sick of hearing about it. Well, you’re in luck. Let me share with you my four point plan to make us shut up about it.
Plant churches in deprived communities
If you want us to stop going on about it, stick some churches in hard places. It’s as simple as that. We wouldn’t be harping on if there were already loads of churches in deprived places. The quickest and easiest way to get us to pipe down is to plant some churches.
Another quick way to get us to zip it is to send us some resources. Much of what we are saying is for the purpose of funding new plants where there are none and resourcing existing churches that are not self-sufficient because of the kinds of people they are reaching. If you want churches in tough areas to stop banging on about it, send them some financial support. We’ll have no reason to make noise if we’re getting funds to keep going.
Release your people
Naturally, we all want to grow by conversion. In reality, loads of churches grow by transfer. And it’s much easier to grow by transfer if you live in the kind of place people want to transfer to. It’s almost impossible to grow by transfer if you’re the kind of place people are desperate to leave. This means, if you’re in the kind of place that benefits from a lot of transfer, it would be good to encourage your people to actively choose to transfer into the kinds of places nobody else will.
But whether it’s people who have transferred or not, you can get us to quiet down if you allow your people to join us. We do not have a steady flow of people coming into our towns. We need some people to come and join us. We don’t want massive churches, we just want a handful of people who love the Lord Jesus to come and help us tell others about him in a place that nobody is going to land in because they stayed after university (because there isn’t one) or they got a job in the town. If you let your people come to us, and encourage them to go, we’ll soon have nothing to say.
Commit to partnership
A lot of the noise on church in hard places comes from the fact that nobody knows we’re here. Of itself, that doesn’t really matter. We don’t need people to know we’re here if we’re self-sufficient and have enough resource to get on with the work of ministry. But for most churches in deprived places, they don’t. People knowing you’re here is the only means of getting enough resources to actually function as a church at all.
We need people to long-term partner with us so that we can continue to function and also so that we can see other churches planted where there are currently none. If we have a good number of partners, actively seeking to support the work in ministry in our areas and working with us to see new churches established in other hard to reach places, we would have no need to say anything at all.
So, if you’re tired of hearing noise about deprived communities and hard places (I know I’m sick of saying the same things over and over again) here are four simple ways to get us to pipe down.