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Planting In A Pandemic

BY THE REV. CANON DR. DAN ALGER

Church planting is never easy, convenient, or safe.  During this time of global pandemic, the task has been made even more difficult. At the same time, however, I believe that we can find great hope and encouragement from the work of church planting and we need to be all the more diligent in our dedication to this ministry.  Here are a few thoughts I have been recently pondering that I hope will help encourage you in your understanding of planting during this pandemic.

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1. Never retreat. Never surrender.

The mission of the Church is not at the whim of economic circumstances or public health crises; it is dictated by the timeless Word of God and, therefore, transcends the temporal issues of life and culture.  The task of church planting is mandated by the Scripture itself as both the method and result of mission. The spread of the church is the hope of the world, so now is not the time to pull back from church planting; it is the time to advance, as this is the moment when the world needs us most. Just as Moses sent Aaron into the midst of the plague to save the people of Israel, so do we send our church planters into this pandemic to bring the saving news of Jesus Christ.  Remember, the very gates of hell will not prevail against the Church!

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2. Do not let financial uncertainty be the god of church planting.

As budgets are being adjusted in view of the effects of the Coronavirus, church planting must not be on the cut list.  It is easy to use phrases like “proper stewardship” and “strategic planning” to justify retracting our church planting efforts until a more opportune time.  There is never an opportune time for the risky work of church planting.  We must allow the God of the Gospel to show his ability to work wonders and provide miraculously.  If you are a church leader who is considering pulling back from church planting, please reconsider.  If you are a donor who supports planting efforts or a particular planter, now is the time to persevere in generous giving. 

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3. Look to church planters for answers.

Church planting is the research and development arm of the church.  New, smaller plants unconstrained by long-term local custom are free to faithfully innovate new missional methodologies and promote fresh ways of being the church.  Established churches will benefit a great deal during this time by looking to our adaptable and creative planters for perspectives and processes that can be implemented in this unprecedented time.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR, DAN ALGER

Dan serves as the Canon for Church Planting for the Anglican Church in North America as well as for the Anglican Diocese of Christ Our Hope. Dan has a long history in church planting, having helped church planters and church plants as a friend, trainer, and coach for almost 20 years. He has planted two churches as the lead planter. Dan is married to Karen and they have two young sons.

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