Unit 8.7 If the worship starts too soon, failure is likely.


Students of this course also understand the nature of the two winged church, where the faith community is understood as a traditional church worship system linked to a cell-type discipleship system. If you study the process of church planting most commonly practiced, a church planting leader initiates a discipleship system focused on starting a church; once sufficient people are gathered for worship to begin, the discipleship system is subordinated to the worship system and  sometimes it almost disappears. The draw toward beginning worship is extremely difficult to resist because the worship system is the basic concept of what it means to be a church.

If the worship starts too soon, failure is likely; church planting consultant Jim Griffith refers to this as Apremature birth:@ Starting public worship too soon is a factor found in almost all church plants that fail. Presenting a quality weekly worship service requires a large investment of time and energy. In most new church starts, the beginning of weekly worship services is accompanied by a decrease in outreach and evangelistic activities. This is due to the demands of preparing sermons, coordinating music, preparing bulletins, set-up and tear-down of the facility in which worship occurs, and the expectations of those attending to receive pastoral care from the planter. Launching with a very small group of people almost inevitably leads to disappointing results and a small or nonexistent church. Planters usually underestimate the amount of time needed to gather a sufficient number of people to move to public worship. Sponsoring agencies usually do this as well.[1] There is an eagerness to get to worship because public worship, in the basic understanding church, is what defines a church. It doesn=t matter whether the worship is traditional or emergent; it=s the way we=ve always done church. Energy diverted into worship and away from evangelism and disciple making before a critical mass of persons is achieved is lost forever. It is unlikely that the new worshiping congregation will again be able to devote the same level of energy to the making of disciples.

[1]#2 of ten reasons given in Jim Griffith and Don Nations, Why Church Plants Fail, http://path1.fhview.com/media/media/mediaplayer.php?id=20080422080449FD7B73&clientId=117615&client_id=117615

NOTE (my response)



The quote is from Major League Disciple Making: An Overview of the Best Research on the Cell Church, an online course developed for the Institute for Discipleship at www.BeADisciple.com in 2009. Course materials, including these lectures, can be downloaded here: http://www.disciplewalk.com/IFD_MLD_Class_Links.html

All Scripture quotations are from the Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright © 1946, 1952, and 1971 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Please review the page How and Why We Use Quotes.

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