All my life church had a Pastor or two that led the show. If and when they left, it was a big deal. Huge deal, even. Mass sadness.
2 years ago next week, I announced to a congregation I led and loved that I would be leaving them. It was one of the hardest things I have ever done!
Then, I moved to Africa to learn what this simple church thing is all about.
I found out that a major value of simple church is to find people of peace (Luke 10) and have THEM gather and lead their peers and families. (often they are not even Christians---but they lead) And this is church, too.
Then, I learned this: the faster you leave them, the better. If you are not out of the way in less than three months (some say one month), the DNA gets watered down and the probability of the group ever making it without you is slim. And it darn sure will not reproduce, because no one will want to leave the "main man". (Note: When I say leave, I do not mean that we leave relationship. You must stay in relationship and disciple the leader, but you do not attend the DBS or Church gathering.)
Exactly one year ago, me and my close friend, Viktor the German started a church with Mozambican men (they lead, but we still attend). Four weeks ago, we announced to them that we would be leaving them soon- a year after our journey started.
Last Sunday, we left them. It was their first meeting without us. They thrived! One of them sent me an SMS saying "It was unbelievable!"
Do I miss having front row seats to watching these guys grow in Jesus? You bet I do! But is this about me? No!
I want to see movements to Jesus, and that means I will need to get out of the way and let the locals lead and reproduce solid gospel DNA without outsider influence. And this is one of the sacrifices we must gladly make for the Kingdom!
Here is a tool we use that will help you...we call it MAWL:
- Model- you do it.
- Assist- they help you do it.
- Watch- you watch them do it.
- Leave- you leave them to do it.
(This is how you leave a church in 4 weeks. And this is happening all over the world!!)
So, I left my church this weekend. I miss them, but I am excited for what is on the horizon for them.
Would you pray with me that this church reproduces within the next 2 months? That is our dream.