To be able to influence current events as they relate to church planting, a credible model must be presented that allows churches to be established with a greater sense of purpose and direction — which will ultimately affect what they are able to do as they mature.
In the case of California Southern Baptist Convention, the credible model is the Count the Cost process, which will have a dramatic effect on the church planting landscape in a number of ways.
First, it presents a different type of process that is unique in the church planting marketplace.
Many models today propose a singular way to achieve desired goals and outcomes. Count the Cost does not propose any particular way to address the issue of growing a strong, reproducing church.
It is “size neutral” in that a church can benefit from Count the Cost if they are at two people or 2,000.
In fact, the process can help even before leaders start to understand what a good start entails.
Not only is it size neutral, it is also “contextually neutral.” It does not depend on a different model for every context. The process reflects the context for which it is applied. Local leadership brings the contextual aspect to the table and Count the Cost reflects that context in the data that is shared.
The process also is “culturally neutral.” With so many people groups in California it is virtually impossible to try to address every culture with a different model. Count the Cost reflects the cultural uniquenesses shared by local leadership.
The process also is “ethnicity neutral.” In any context or culture or people group the key issues are reaching people with the gospel, discipling those who are reached, and equipping and deploying those who are discipled in service to the Lord. Count the Cost, with local input, allows the pastor and leaders to see what needs to be done in their very unique situation to achieve the three keys above.
Many models today do not have the “predictability factor.” Some church starts are effective and grow in a dynamic way, but the issue becomes, “Why did it succeed?” and “Can it be reproduced?”
Count the Cost brings a degree of predictability and stability to the new church start.
By understanding the context and culture of the new church and designing a Count the Cost process for each new church, there is an ability to glimpse into the future and see where the church will be at certain stages in its growth. By seeing those stages and understanding what it took to get there, the next church plant can benefit from what has been learned.
(Read Part 2 of this Insight.)
See archives of Dr. Agee's previous Insights.