Today, I am reevaluating my perspective on resources. Ralph Moore gave me good reasons to think differently about what I have from God in order to start a church. He is here for a three-day conference on multiplying leaders. The Hope Chapel movement has now started 700 churches in 7 continents and 70 nations. Ralph began talking about how big things often start from small beginnings. We need to think in the right way about what God has given us in the beginning.
He talked about the building he inherited to start a church in Hermosa Beach, CA that seated 60 people comfortably. They filled that space up with two services with weekly attendance of 200 people. He said, if people came on time, they got to pick their seat, but if you came a little late, you might be sitting on the floor in the aisles. Keep in mind, this is the 1970’s and the Jesus movement with hippies coming in droves. If you came even later, you found yourself sitting outside by the windows listening in.
His point is that we might see a building that seats 60 people and start praying that God might give us a bigger space. We might look at our circumstances or resources and ask for something different if we are really going to make an impact. But God is our provider. If God is providing for us, and we ask for more, we are saying that God doesn’t know what our problems are. We need to trust God with what he has given us and start thinking differently with what we have.
We should take our resources and think if they are not working the way we want them to, what should change with them. How can we think creatively with what we have?
As we begin our church plant, we are looking to have small group meetings at coffee shops and little restaurants. For Thai people, they will think we are all on an equal playing field. No one is more special with their host home, but each one comes to the meeting on equal footing. We are looking to start several meetings in different locations with different leaders in order to be in public places where we will run into friends of friends and draw them to what God is doing.
When I talked with Ralph about this during a break, he told me how they have A philosophy to not allow their mini-churches, or small groups, to meet on the church campus. He said they have 119 different mini-churches, but if you allow them to meet on the church campus, you will limit the number of groups to the maximum number that the church can facilitate. And if you are out at Starbucks or McDonald’s, you can run into friends of each other.
Our goal is to be creative with the resources, because we want the Thai people to see what we do as reproducible. If we can show them they can do what we are doing without money, they won’t feel overwhelmed. They need to see things as basic as possible, so they can see it as doable. We are not trying to wow anyone with what we do, but crate a space for relationship and for God to meet us where we are.