Thursday, December 20, 2007


A few weeks ago, I met up with Deb Stehlin, pastor of Light of the World Lutheran Church, a new church start in the southern suburbs of the Twin Cities. I wanted to get her insights on church planting and she told us it was all about faith. Her talk was summed up in this blog entry:

The people who are helping to start Light of the World are teaching me some valuable things about planting new churches. Here's the most important one:

Trust how God works.

My shelf is full of books on how to start a new church. They are thick and full of good information, mostly. But I think I've learned the most from our people. They have taught me to concentrate on what's at the center. To trust how God works. Our church teaches that God's love and presence come to us in lots of ways, but God ALWAYS shows up in three ways:

1. When we hear God's word in the Bible.
2. When we receive Holy Communion.
3. When we gather in Jesus' name to listen to each other and support each other. (Martin Luther called that the mutual conversation and consolation of the saints.)

Our life together has focused on those three things. And you know what? God shows up!

The cynical part of me wonders if it's that easy, but the thing is, maybe it is. Maybe church planting doesn't have to be about going to myriad conferences and reading tons of books. Maybe it's just this: trusting that God is at work.

And yet, that is so hard for me because I feel so often that it's all up to me. I've been hesitant this time around because I don't want to just jump in and get hurt. Maybe this time, it's not about how to bring people in, but about being where God already is and trusting God will work things out.


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