Friday, September 20, 2013

The Danger of Pragmatism for Church Planting

This is a quote from Bob Vajko, (author and practitioner in Church Planting) on the danger of building on pragmatism for church planting and multiplication. 
What is pragmatism? Philosophically, the question could be complicated, but in this study pragmatism is understood to be the concept that "if it works, it must be right." What is the danger? That the implication be given that church planting and the multiplication of daughter churches is simply a question of "know-how" or "techniques." The assumption could so easily be made that all one has to do is to follow a workable guide plan and then "voila - a daughter church."

...Missiology without a clear theological base easily and imperceptibly becomes pragmatism lacking solid roots in biblical data. This wrongly pragmatic approach to ministry can lead us to make both theology and truth peripheral.

I highlighted this quote in my reading because I have been reading and been taught a few models with exactly this pragmatic mentality. When I wrestle with and question the model, I've had people essentially say, "Look, this model is working. So, if we want fruit, we will use this model."

This troubles me. Just because something "works" doesn't make it necessarily wise, or right, or Spirit-filled, or healthy as a long-term approach (though it may be all of those things!). 

Thing is, I've been drawn towards church planting because I believe that Jesus is the hope of the world, and that He's chosen to reach the world through the Church and to gather His people together into the Church. Despite all the baggage that may be associated with church, whether it be legalism or spiritual abuse or loneliness.... I think that followers of Jesus gathered together to follow Him are the church, and that that's what I long for.

So, I may be reading up on models of how people are gathering followers of Jesus together, but I'm wary of the "this is what works best and fastest and produces the most results" mentality. There's a lot to be said for no longer being over-institutionalized, but there's also a lot to be said for not acting like the church is an American business and be driven by pragmatism and the need for results.

No comments: