Guest Post by Rick McKinley
When Imago Dei first got off the ground, I met a man named David Nicholas who had started a church in Boca Raton, Florida called Spanish River Community Church. David had this vision for planting churches because he loved seeing people come to Christ. They had committed 10% of their budget to church panting and we were one of the churches they funded. Over the course of David’s ministry they planted over 300 churches all around the world and saw thousands of people meet Jesus.
Imago Dei, the church I pastor, took on that same commitment. We have helped plant several churches over the years, and a few years ago we decided to bring these churches together and create a new network. Waterhouse church planting network was born out of a desire to be in relationship together as churches committed to a common vision.
We recently had our network conference and it was an amazing time of meeting like-minded pastors who are committed to planting churches and reaching people for Jesus.
The values we share are being lived out by these churches all around the western US. We are committed to having the Gospel at the center of our churches, keeping the Kingdom at the forefront of our mission, engaging culture through creative mission, understanding the church as the people of God who both preach the good news and live lives of good deeds, and, finally, expressing our unity through planting racially diverse churches.
When we gathered the room was ethnically diverse with almost half white and half African American pastors. That kind of diversity creates such a rich environment of learning through each other’s stories. Our network is being shaped by the unity we share through the Gospel and how that expresses itself in the uniqueness of who we are. We are learning that, to take church planting seriously, we need to understand how to plant white churches, black churches, and multicultural churches. That requires us to re-think how we equip, train, and fund planters.
It’s no easy task but the beautiful thing is that when we listen to one another and how God is shaping our stories, churches, and communities, God creates a new way of seeing each other and the world through our time together.
When our time ended we had so many guys wanting to jump on board it was a little overwhelming, but the thing that gets us all excited about the future is that God in the midst of this thing. He is bringing together people whose backgrounds have very little in common, but our love for Jesus allows us to learn from each other, work together to further the Kingdom, and, at the end of the day, love each other in a unique brotherhood created by Christ.
What would it look like if your community caught a vision for planting churches? How would it change our churches if we really believed that Jesus brings us together to send us out so that we can bless the world? What if we thought of sending money and people to plant a church as multiplication not subtraction?
I can’t wait to see how God changes lives and cities through these leaders and churches. You can learn more about the Waterhouse Network here: