Well another year has started and once again I am on the look out for some mongrels.You know the type; rangy, little bit edgy, tough, not too pretty and definitely of a mixed enough breed that a common cold won’t kill them like it would a thoroughbred.
You see when it comes to my dog, I like a nice thoroughbred dog, and indeed I have one – pampered highly-strung pooch that it is – that looks funky, hangs around our house and doesn’t make too much mess. But when it comes to church planters, well that is a different story, cos I am looking for some mongrels. Funky, hangers-about who don’t leave a trace behind them just don’t seem to be cutting it in church planting.
Mongrel church planters are the types who, although they may not have the best theological education that money can buy (and more and more money is needed to buy such a thing these days), know the Bible well, can explain the Gospel lovingly, and are affirmed by others as gifted to lead not just a Bible study, but a whole group of people who want to follow them in the difficult task of planting a church in hard soil. It’s as if like, shock horror, the Holy Spirit has gifted them supernaturally to do the work of evangelist and they can, with some good mentoring, do what seems to be impossible in the West today – grow a church primarily through conversion.
Mongrel church planters are also proud to be mongrels. They are a bit edgy, won’t always be nice, and aren’t scared to disagree with their theological superiors. They’ve had a few stones thrown at them and they haven’t backed down. Not that they have to be rude, but sometimes they are, and more often than not they realise it and repent.
Mongrel church planters often got converted out of rough backgrounds so they are not afraid to end up back among people with rough backgrounds. They won’t even let a good theological education burr the edges off them. Sure it’s good to have a sound theological education, but not at the expense of sealing you off from the people with whom you most identified with prior to that education.
And they’ve had a job. A real job. Either a 9-5, or a 6:30-3:30 (more likely the latter than the former). And guess what? They won’t mind going back to that job for a few days a week if it means they can get on with the job of planting a church on the other days of the week. They are not looking for tenure. Heck they don’t even know what “tenure” means.
Why do I want to see some mongrel church planters coming through? Well, to be frank I want to see all sorts of church planters coming through, but ten years into thinking and doing this sort of stuff, the thoroughbreds seem to be taking a sniff at church planting and trotting off home. Give me a few mongrels any day.