I don’t know to what extent readers of this blog have been following the recent developments of our church planting network, Acts 29, but recently, Matt Chandler Pastor of The Village Church in Dallas, was named President of Acts 29. Shortly after this Matt shared his hopes for the Acts 29 Network. They are very encouraging, so I thought I’d share some highlights here. (Note: to read each blog post in full, click the hyperlink over each heading below.) I hope that this not only encourages you, but spurs you on to pray that these things will become a reality, not only for Acts 29 in general, but also for Crew Church in particular. –Phil
By Matt Chandler, President:
Over the next couple of weeks I want to publicly state what my hopes are for the Acts 29 Network. My hopes aren’t complex and seem to me to be no-brainers, even though it might take years before some of them are a reality. I will be and am currently putting my efforts and influence to work in these directions.
1. I want us to plant churches that plant churches.
My hope is not that we would simply plant churches but that we would plant churches that plant churches that plant churches. That from the very beginning of an Acts 29 plant, the pastor and the people would have a vision and plan for planting another church. The DNA of all A29 churches should be a deep and driving desire to see gospel saturated, biblically faithful, missionally engaged churches planted everywhere possible in all types of locations….May the Spirit draw men who share this passion and shine his face on us as we seek to see millions of people who are far from him reconciled to him through Jesus.
2. Be Known for Holiness and Humility.
We will continue to have our flaws and blind spots like all networks do, but my deep and abiding hope is that regardless of what is said of us — even by our enemies — it will have to be said that we are men who deeply and desperately love the Kingdom of God and are walking in holiness and humility. I’ll invite you to join me in praying this way.
3. Become a Radically Diverse Crowd
Ethnic harmony/diversity is core to being explicitly Christian. The scriptures would teach that there are two races, the race of the first Adam and the race of the second. It’s only in Christ that we are able to find our core identity. Our different cultures carry history, traditions and legacies but the gospel transcends all that and makes us a new people, a family. We continue to value what is good and right in our cultures but submit gladly to the new family as adopted sons and co-heirs of Christ.
The cross of Calvary isn’t theoretical — it changes how we view ourselves and others. It alone can heal wounds and create brotherly affections and direction. It destroys the walls of hostility. Producing homogenous churches can be done with relative ease and a total lack of dependence on the Spirit. That’s not what I’m hopeful for. The production of diverse churches and ultimately a diverse network, that is not simply an assembly of multi-raced but assimilated people’s, can only be done through God’s grace and the power of the Holy Spirit. This is what my heart is hungry for. I’m praying the Spirit of God would guide our steps as we seek to better display his love for all man.
4. Be Serious about Evangelism and Conversions.
My fourth hope for the Acts 29 network is that we would be serious about evangelism and praying for conversions…I don’t just mean preaching sermons that are evangelistic, I hope for much, much more than that.
My hope is that:
- Our pastors would model personal evangelism by sharing the gospel as boldly in their neighborhood as they do in their pulpit.
- That we would long and yearn for salvations and would walk in a godly frustration when we don’t see them.
- That we would believe in the sufficiency of the scriptures and in the power of the Spirit to open the eyes of the most hardened of people in our cities.
- That we would train the men and women in our churches to see their neighbors, co-workers, and friends as an opportunity to love supremely by praying for and sharing the best news in the universe with them.
- That we would love the work of God in salvation so much that it would lead us to the ends of the earth heralding the Gospel until all that will know, know.
In all of this I hope that we will keep our scriptural understanding of what salvation is, where it comes from and how it happens. In just a cursory reading of Christian history you’ll find that God-belittling, atonement-denying, concession-making, castrated Christianity has almost always come through the doorway of “evangelism.” May the Spirit protect and guide us and may He draw many to Jesus in our churches and in all churches!
Christ is All,