Shawn Lovejoy on what he believes is the next horizon in church planting.
Shawn Lovejoy serves as senior pastor of Mountain Lake Church in Cumming, Ga., and leads ChurchPlanters.com.
CONNECTION TO OUTREACH MAGAZINE: Lovejoy was recently featured in the July/August 2011 issue.
You say that you don’t think most church leaders are supposed to lead a megachurch? Why?
I’m more convinced than ever before that megachurch is not the answer because there are very, very few people that can lead one. It’s a fraction of 1 percent. It’s a complicated organization. Having led this church, I believe there are a lot more people capable of leading, investing and discipling 70 to 75 people than there are who can lead an organization of 2,000. This is where the attractional church and missional communities conversation totally come together and can be a beautiful marriage.
In your opinion, can missional communities have the same impact as a megachurch?
They can have more impact. Missional communities are reproducible; a megachurch is not. So the idea would be that we’d have more of these missional communities because more people can lead smaller numbers. Just by sheer volume, the impact has the potential to be much greater.
What are the challenges?
The challenge is this mentality we’ve set up for church planters (myself included)—that they need to get to 200 people as fast as possible. Most of them aren’t able to do it. We call it failure when they can’t. We need to slow it way down and instead of putting all these expectations on church planters, say to them, “Keep your part-time job, be bivocational, keep doing what you’re doing. Don’t quit your job and pack the U-haul and try to become self-supporting in a year.” If we encourage planters to pastor 100 people in a missional community, then multiply it, that’s where attractional and missional communities almost run together.
BOOKS BY LOVEJOY:
The Measure of Our Success (Baker) is slated to release spring 2012.
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