I was invited by my coach, Pete Mueller, to join him and other church planters at a micro-conference about church planting. This time was led by the Senior Pastor of Hill Country Bible Church, Tim Hawks. Tim Hawks has overseen a church ministry that has planted over 20 churches in and around Austin. On Easter Sunday, all of the independent Hill Country Bible Churches shared the resurrection story with almost 25,000 people!! Now that’s nothing short of incredible!
I can go on and on with all of the amazing things Tim taught me in his short one hour presentation. Rather, I will share with you a nugget that will shape the way our launch team operates.
Tim said that the church is too tied up in what seminarians call “ecclesiology.” Meaning, we are acting like the Pharisees and Sadducees that Jesus rebuked! We are concerned with our structure, our order, our polity, our governance, our do’s and don’ts. We are better at criticizing one another rather than building one another up in our most holy faith. (Jude 1:20) And I couldn’t agree more.
Rather, Tim says that the church needs to be concerned with Christology which will lead to our missiology. Meaning, the church must concern herself with making sure we are making known the love and wonders of our beautiful Saviour. When we are so in love with Jesus and the study of our Saviour, then the only thing that can come about this is being a missionary to everyone and everywhere we go. Tim says that ecclesiology (church structure) will come as a by product (for better or worse). However, our focus must and should be about this: How have we been a Christ loving neighbor to those around us? What are we doing to love and bless our neighbor for the glory of Christ?
Therefore, as a church plant launch team, very little time will be spent discussing church structure and polity. The great thing about not planting a non-denominational church is that our Lutheran sisters and brothers have already done this for us through our church network. We have our theological foundation and we’re sticking to it. Thankfully, as a launch team, we get to focus on the practice of our faith. We get to discuss ideas on how we are going to be such a blessing to our neighbors in and around Alamo Ranch that our presence is felt and seen in our communities. We get to experiment with ways of being an infectious Jesus movement where our fellowship can do nothing else but grow and flourish.
One thing that Tim said he regrets is planting churches that didn’t plant pregnant. He says that if their church would have planted churches with the expectation that they plant a new church every three years, imagine how much more Austin would be saturated with the Gospel!
That is why our church will be sure to be planted pregnant. We have a church brewing inside of our little church plant right now. When we launch September 2018, you better believe we will have a new worshipping community launch by September 2021. If not, be sure to call our church out!
In our next post we will be able to share with you what God has put on our hearts to name this church plant! It will be a name that reflects our community and our birth from Shepherd of the Hills. I can’t wait!
Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!
In Christ’s gratitude for you,