What's Your Story?
Rev. Bill Geis
“For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.”
We plant new ministries and churches because God is good, faithful, and loving. The focus of church planting isn’t the buildings and strategies, events and invitations, money and marketing. The focus is people. It is people God loves and for whom He sent His Son to save. We who have enjoyed such grace, now have the privilege and joy to help empower His new gatherings of people.
It is fair to say that these are extraordinarily difficult times for our churches. It is tempting to say, “we can’t plant because our strength is waning.” Yet the church has multiplied like weeds in a field when it was small and seemingly weak, struggling, and persecuted. Healthy congregations cry out of their weakness, “use us!”
Can every church have a church planting strategy? I believe every church has an active role in the planting of new missions. These new plants may be actually be very simple, yet highly relational and impactful. The way through these extraordinary times is not to hunker down and save what we can. These are times for all of us to pray in earnest, and be counted as workers in the harvest for next generations. This generation includes our children and grandchildren, immigrants and refugees, and includes the (now majority) unchurched population of our society. All who need to know the goodness, faithfulness, and love of God.
In the Missouri District, we have churches of all sizes working together in church planting. We don’t always see it as planting because our mental picture is limited to the replication of structures and programs. Church planting today is the story of congregations like Messiah (Independence) and Immanuel (Barnhart) both creating new ministries during pandemic and pastoral vacancies. It’s the story of Bethlehem (St. Louis) partnering with other urban churches reaching hundreds of children. It is the story of Faith (St. Robert) discipling groups across a vast network of rural communities and military servants. It’s the story of more than a dozen of our Campus Ministry Network churches equipping students to live out their Christian vocation through their academic and career opportunities. It’s the story of Christian Friends of New Americans providing a bridge between St. Louis congregations and new immigrants. It’s the story of two very different first year pastors leading the rebirth of “Jefferson Avenue Mission” (St. Louis) and shared ministry in Southeast Missouri. It’s the story of God sending us to plant His goodness, faithfulness, and love to all!
What’s your congregation’s story?