Acts2.XYZ: New Reality. Real Change.
Church Planting in the Age of Attention Scarcity
October 15, 2022
How can we rethink church planting as a digital message-first approach? In this episode, I start with the foundations of what a church should do, and describe how we are in a message-first era which presents a huge challenge for planters to address common challenges. This was a podcast I recorded on the road so the quality won't be as good.
# Planting Churches in an Digital Message Driven World

1. What are the challenges of church planting today?
   1. Velocity
   2. Reach
   3. Impact 
   4. Sustainability
2. What does Scripture suggest church planting should do?
   1. Save more people (Acts 2:47)
   2. Mature and love the saved (1 Cor 3:2; 1 John 4:21; Eph 4:14))
3. What moves people to be saved?
   1. The inexplicable movement of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:4; John 3:8)
   2. Hearing the word (Romans 10:17)
   3. Facing one’s sin through the law and grace through faith (Romans 3:20; Romans 3: 24-25)

4. How am I reading this?
   1. God’s word that leads one to repentance and reveals redemption through Christ’s propitiation should be a key part of any church
   2. In other words, that message — a message which opens receiving hearts to the depth of their sin and the hope through Christ — must be central before all other things
  3. This means before a building, before community, before music, before snacks and meals — the message saves.
  4. If we believe it’s true, church planters must first develop their message and distribute it so that it can go like the wind (wind blows where it wishes)

5. What is the current digital media landscape like?
   1. Unprecedented audience-building time: The rise of YouTube, Facebook video, TikTok — we see an opportunity to lead with the message first and drive those who feel motivated to connect to the yet-to-be planted church near where they are.
   2. We know this happens: successful preachers on YouTube have audiences far beyond their own local church.  
  3. Those who hear would love to connect to that pastors church — but **cannot**
  4. The converse is true: a planter who developed their message, honed a very specific God-given voice, could find an audience globally.

6. How does a global, digital-first audience turn into the local church?
   1. If the planter drives the audience to the church-planters platform, the platform could help create the church
   2. The platform should help create multiple local “home churches” overseen by the planter

7. What would such a platform need to be able to do?
   1. Allow easier digestion of the message to learn the specific Scriptures and build experience with exegesis
   2. Enable “meeting daily” amongst those who feel an affinity to the planter’s message
   3. Allow the planter to easily ‘oversee’ the learning and interactions
   4. Support the safe clustering around those who live close to each other

8. Problems with this approach 
1. Your ability to preach is under pressure from the beginning
1. Why do you think you are ready before finding your God - given voice?
2. You may not be a strong preacher ever
1. Why plant a church?  Why not be the lead shepherd of a local church that has traction from one who is a stronger preacher?
2. What is in the way of laying down the primary preaching responsibility?
3.  You have no say on where to go
1. The area that most responds — if any — will determine where you go
4. You may not have a large single site 
1. In a distributed church plant you may not have a large single site
1. Why?  Because in an attention age, your prophetic and evangelistic message must be sharp for a more specific audience. 
5. You cannot create a traditionally awesome worship experience 
1. No lights, no ambience, no band, no building to shape

9. How would such a church look?
1. “Meet” digitally and pray daily
1. Solving the problem of attention and time
2. Connecting and communicating daily without meeting in person
2. Bereans: searching the Scriptures
3. Local members take on teaching and shepherding
1. This forces a focus on building up teachers (who are the best candidates for elders)
2. This needs a way to simplify and hand hold the scriptural teaching to ensure doctrinal correctness
4. Church creates ‘worship” experience in homes
1. Provide or pay for online guitar and singing lessons
2. Provide a kit: battery operated candles, throw or sitting pillows, cover door dash meals; inexpensive portable stereo with a Spotify playlist

10. Reference
1. Acts 2:47 - Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.
2. 1 Cor 3:2 - I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready.
3. 1 John 4:21 - And we have this commandment from Him: Whoever loves God must love his brother as well.
4. Acts 2:4 - And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.
5. John 3:8 - The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit
6. Ephesians 4:14 - Then we will no longer be infants, tossed about by the waves and carried around by every wind of teaching and by the clever cunning of men in their deceitful scheming. 
7. Romans 10:17 - So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
8. Romans 3: 24-25 - for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,  whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith.
9. Romans 3:20 - For by works of the law no human being[c] will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin.

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