A friend of mine pastors an established church. I am planting a new church. We have more in common than we think.
Don’t get me wrong. There are huge differences in what we do. He oversees a much larger ministry than I do, with a long and storied history. That church operates out of a big building in a prominent location. I, on the other hand, lead a church with a short history, a month-to-month lease, and no staff.
We still have a lot in common.
We both serve in Toronto, one of the most multicultural cities in the world. We’re both surrounded by people who have never been to church, and who believe that Jesus has nothing to say to them.
We both grew up under a chaplaincy model of ministry that makes little sense today. We are relearning what it means to pastor, especially in the context of a post-Christendom culture.
We both realize that we are answering different questions. When we preach, we can’t assume anything. This calls for fewer assumptions and greater clarity in how and what we communicate.
We both wrestle with the resource challenge of ministry in an expensive city. For him, it means wisely using the building to generate some income. For me, it means fundraising and working bivocationally (25% of my time).
While there are differences between us, I’m convinced that pastors of established churches and church planters are increasingly going to wrestle with the same questions.
We need each other. We need church planters and we need church revitalizers. Together we must wrestle with the challenges of ministry in a culture that’s increasingly a missionary context. We’re in it together, and we have lots to learn from each other.