From Tim Keller’s Why Plant Churches [PDF]:
The vigorous, continual planting of new congregations is the single most crucial strategy for 1) the numerical growth of the Body of Christ in any city, and 2) the continual corporate renewal and revival of the existing churches in a city. Nothing else–not crusades, outreach programs, para-church ministries, growing mega-churches, congregational consulting, nor church renewal processes–will have the consistent impact of dynamic, extensive church planting. This is an eyebrow raising statement. But to those who have done any study at all, it is not even controversial.
Helpful article which responds to church planting objections and has some eye-opening stats such as:
Dozens of denominational studies have confirmed that the average new church gains most of its new members (60-80%) from the ranks of people who are not attending any worshipping body, while churches over 10-15 years of age gain 80-90% of new members by transfer from other congregations. This means that the average new congregation will bring 6-8 times more new people into the life of the Body of Christ than an older congregation of the same size.
The stats and story in Appendix A are noteworthy as well.
D. A. Carson writes, “A couple of years ago I sat down for coffee, after prayer meeting, with one of the most able preachers I have ever heard. This man is extraordinary. I have never heard him preach without finding my mind informed and my heart challenged . On the relatively rare occasions when I can listen to him, his ministry invariably reshapes my thinking by the Word of God . Though only in his late forties, he serves in a strategic church. But that night, over coffee, he quietly began to speak words along these lines: “Don,” he said, “if the truth be told, I am getting tired. For the first time I understand why some able preachers end up in administration or teaching at the age of fifty . I cannot maintain this level of ministry, Sunday after Sunday, week after week, without burning out. I am tired. And I confess I am enough of a perfectionist that I do not want to go into the pulpit unless I am thoroughly prepared. Unless I feel the message is ready, I am not content to preach it.”
I responded with a few platitudes, and we prayed together. Some months later, I was preaching and lecturing in Australia, when someone passed on to me one of the sayings of Broughton Knox, formerly the principal of Moore Theological College. According to this report, Knox told his students, “God is not interested in one hundred percentism.” There is a sense, of course, in which that is the only thing God is interested in. He wants us to trust and obey him wholly; he wants us to serve him with 100 percent loyalty. But then the focus is on him. What Broughton Knox meant is that very often what we call “one hundred percentism” is not unrestrained allegiance to God and his gospel but merely a reflection of a perfectionist personality. For some people, unless they tackle whatever they are doing with 100 percent of their energy and competence, the task is not worth doing at all. They cannot live with themselves unless they work that way. Frequently they are the high achievers. But from a Christian perspective, this attitude may turn out to be nothing more than another form of self-worship— in short, a form of idolatry. So I wrote to my fellow preacher and cited Broughton Knox: “God is not interested in one hundred percentism.” The fact is, I told him, I would much rather listen to him preach for thirty or forty more years at 80 percent of his capacity, than for three or four more years at 100 percent of his capacity. If the choice is to be made on the basis of what is for the good of the church, of the number of people who would hear the gospel powerfully and intelligently presented, and therefore on the basis of what would bring most glory to Christ, the same decision would be called for. In all our pursuit of excellence, we must never worship excellence. That would simply be idolatrous.”
Main Idea: Your phone is a revolutionary device that can hinder or help your walk with Christ.
“People care more about what others say about your church than what your church says about itself.” – Brady Shearer
Give your notes beforehand. – Even if only an outline, the less surprises, the better for the translator!
Highlight specific texts (like Scripture). – It is much more difficult (and dangerous) for the translator to “wing” translating Scripture – especially when it is not necessary.
Manuscript illustrations. – These tend to require precise language (e.g. – “love interest” or “the Hulk”) and don’t translate easily.
Use stories and jokes thoughtfully. – It only clouds if it doesn’t translate culturally.
Budget 75% more time. – Side-by-side translation shouldn’t double your speaking time, but it will increase it.
Think Twitter in your phrasing. – How much could you memorize and translate at time?
Allow your translator to speak. – Don’t cut him/her off! Honestly, he/she is more important than you because the listeners only understand him/her.
Thank your translator!
Learn for next time!
At ~49:48 minute mark, there is an interesting comment by Pastor Mark Driscoll on the theological diversity within the Chinese church.
Pre-workshop music: Word by Sho Baraka
Intro game: Make It or Break It?
“The Christian faith is the most exciting drama that ever staggered the imagination of man—and the dogma is the drama …. this terrifying drama in which God is the victim and the hero. If this is dull, then what, in Heaven’s name, is worthy to be called exciting? The people who hanged Christ never, to do them justice, accused Him of being a bore—on the contrary; they thought Him too dynamic to be safe. It has been left for later generations to muffle up that shattering personality and surround Him with an atmosphere of tedium. We have efficiently pared the claws of the Lion of Judah, certifying Him “meek and mild,” and recommended Him as a fitting household pet for pale curates and pious old ladies.” – Dorothy Sayers