At risk of offending in my first blog post, I’ve often struggled with claims of doing things “God’s Way”—whether “Growing Kids God’s Way”, “Leading God’s Way”, “Marriage God’s Way”, etc., we often blur the lines between our attempts at doing things in a Godly way and claims of having a corner one “God’s Way” of doing things. Recently, however, I was challenged regarding “God’s Way” of church planting….
Planting churches is by no means a new pursuit. The Church in Jerusalem, launched soon after the Resurrection of Jesus, was the first church plant. Today, over 2000 years and millions of plants later, starting new churches remains at the epicenter of the Lord’s world-wide Kingdom work.
Planting churches is also by no means a cookie-cutter process. From small reproducing simple churches to massive mega churches, the local expression of the Body of Christ takes on countless shapes and sizes. Acts 2:37-47 gives us key characteristics that are largely regarded as prescriptive in order for a community to be church:
- Teaching from God’s Word
- Lord’s Supper
- Giving of Resources
As a growing network of churches and church planters, we at Reach Chicago are not one-size-fits-all. We are made up of larger and smaller churches, we span the city and the suburbs, we are multi-ethnic, we pursue numerous strategies (missional communities, large launches, discipleship multiplication— to name a few), we have both vocational and bi-vocational pastors, etc. While diverse, colorful and experimental, one distinctive that stands out as a common denominator Is obedience.
Beginning with the calling of Christ’s first disciples (Matthew 4:18-22) and throughout the rest of the New Testament, both the leadership and expressions of the early church are called to an immediate, radical obedience. Andrew, Peter, James and John immediately dropped their nets and followed Him; later, Peter and John could not “but speak of what (they had) seen and heard” (Acts 4:19-21) in spite of the threats of the religious leaders; later still, Peter bucked all preconceived notions and logic and took the Gospel to the Gentile Cornelius out of obedience (Acts 10); Saul (later Paul) and Barnabas set out on a crazy missionary/church planting journey when the Holy Spirit made His plan clear to the leaders of the church at Antioch (Acts 13);… The list goes on—time and time again, the Lord led and directed, and the early church stepped out in faith and obeyed. Disciples and churches multiplied as steps of obedience were taken, and His Kingdom expanded exponentially (ex. 2 Timothy 2:2, Acts 19:8-10).
Regardless of shape, size, strategy and location, we are called to obedience—both in our daily walks with the Lord and in our church planting efforts. More than anything else, this is what we as Reach Chicago are desiring to lead out with! Immersing ourselves in the Word, prayer, fasting, seeking His Face, and being led by the Holy Spirit! These are not supplemental endeavors but foundational for “Church Planting God’s Way!”
“Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain….” (Psalm 127:1a)
Adam is a missionary with Greater Europe Mission and the Director of Church Planter Development for Reach Chicago. Along with his wife Bethel and their three children, Adam served in Germany for 16 years, engaging in church planting, disciple multiplication, leadership development. Adam has also served as GEM’s Mobilization Director. The Gascho’s now reside in Barrington, IL, where they also lead in the areas of youth and children’s ministry at the Village Church of Barrington and are engaged in evangelism, church planting and leader development across Chicagoland. Adam loves hanging out with his family and friends, playing and watching pretty much any sport (especially soccer), board games, travel and the nations. Adam has his undergraduate (BA in Political Science and Secondary Education) and graduate (MA in Theological Studies) from Wheaton College.