Planting a “Practice”

“What if church planters quit planting churches and instead planted church “practices?” Like a doctor’s practice, I believe the church shouldn’t be about building some institution, but about practicing the faith that has been given to them. It should be about “being” the church – not about building the church. The analogy breaks down in the sense that at a doctor’s practice, the only one “practicing” is the doctor. The church should be a place where everyone is “practicing” – maybe more like the imagery of the doctor’s “clinic” on Patch Adams. Everyone was a patient (in need of something), but everyone was also a “doctor” who helped others – sometimes he helped by listening, or by picking up trash, or whatever, but he contributed to the health of someone else and that made him a “doctor” by Patch’s definition.

I think these are important ideas for church planters. If a planter begins his ministry working to build/grow a church, then things are going to get really confusing – think about it – everyone has a different idea about what a church should be. And everyone has a different need that they want to see met by the institutional church. Instead, if the planter works to “be” the church and works to equip others to “practice” their faith, then won’t that church naturally become whatever it’s supposed to be? If each member is doing the ministry that God has called him to, then when they are assembled, it wouldn’t be about building the institution, but simply about celebrating the things God has been doing throughout the week.

This was just a random thought I had in the car today. I thought it was worth sharing.

3 thoughts on “Planting a “Practice”

  1. Joshua Foster

    I had a conversation with my girlfriend about a week ago that shared the same ideals, I didn’t use Patch Adams though. Maybe your thought was not so random.

  2. Mike Mathews

    I really like the analogy using Patch Adams. I can picture several scenes in my imagination. That is what the church should be about, but somewhere along the way to the clinic we lost our way.
    I know you could plant a church with this direction, but I wonder if you could change an existing church? I know you could in a small percentage, but it would be costly.
    I think it has to start with church plants and then somebody will take a bold step in an existing church. Just a thought.

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