12 churches planted in 12 years. That's the story of Southlands Church. A couple no longer exist, some have grown faster and stronger than others, but still, for a medium size church, it is a remarkable number, and testament to Chris and Meryl's grace gift of raising up and releasing leaders for the sake of the gospel. With the church planters have gone many, many high quality saints. This remains our DNA - sacrificial giving of God's people to both halves of the Great Commission - preaching the gospel and making disciples in Judea,Samaria and the ends of the earth.
Its what happened in Acts at the persecution. The people proclaimed Christ as they fled for their lives, like seed scattered in whichever soil they found themselves. Thank goodness, they had learned to devote themselves to doctrine, prayer, fellowship and breaking bread, They had no leaders looking over their shoulders when they were scattered. they were self-disciplined. This is a culture of the 'revolving door'. People come in, get matured, trained up, and sent.Its the culture of scripture.
But what, you may ask, about our ongoing witness in Jerusalem? I have heard many say that it was ironic that the apostles, the 'sent ones' were the only ones who stayed, and that this was somehow wrong. Seriously? What about if they had run, and left everyone else to face the persecution? Don't you think staying required more guts and grit? Sure, some of them got into Jewish legalism, but that was a heart thing not a geography thing. Staying in Jerusalem is a noble calling. The church needs anchormen and women, with deep roots and strong, long testimonies of faithfulness to the gospel, the people of God and the city in which they are planted.Oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.
Anchormen and women need to be celebrated -those planted for the sake of the church and the sake of the city. Otherwise they leave for the wrong reasons without the grace to go, and they and we are all the poorer for it! Let's grow a culture that can celebrate the stayers as well as the goers!