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Raising Up to Send Out!

I’ve been excited to see the current and future church planting leaders that God seems to be entrusting to our care and training as a Network. And with the growing momentum, let me propose a question to my fellow warriors throughout the Crossway Network anchored in the sovereign rule of our gracious and all-powerful Lord:

How can we raise up more from among our existing churches? What might it take to see dozens from our ranks within the pipeline eagerly awaiting the training and resources to be sent out to needed gospel starved communities throughout the world? As we press forward for the future, how can we avoid our own Crossway Network version of “mission drift” or our own acceptable version of comfortable consumeristic Christianity?

What might it take to see dozens from our ranks within the pipeline eagerly awaiting the training and resources to be sent out to needed gospel starved communities throughout the world?

Please understand the heart behind my question.  I do not know a leader in this Network who is not sold out for Jesus. And yet, how many would move away from friends, family, a loving church, a comfortable home, a workable routine, and anticipated income to an unappealing environment for Jesus’ sake, His kingdom and the millions who need the Savior today?  Many of our proven leaders are getting older. We now have so much more to give than in any other time of our lives and still the necessary energy to invest in others.  Our 50s and 60s should be our most fruitful years.

…how many would move away from friends, family, a loving church, a comfortable home, a workable routine, and anticipated income to an unappealing environment for Jesus’ sake, His kingdom and the millions who need the Savior today?

I am praying for 6 ethnically diverse, passionate, “Keith Green” apostolic types to win, build and send  into the harvest who would be used to plant hundreds, if not thousands of churches.   We have a wonderful Servant Team that is working hard to set up more and more support structures for us to build and max out on. What would it take in our own hearts to see the lid taken off?

Do you have a thought? Do you have a challenge that will push this conversation forward? Do you have a prayerful charge for our leaders. Please comment, take action in your churches and spheres of influence, and let’s win the world to Jesus!

An undeserving nobody telling everyone about a somebody,

Tom Harcus

Lead Planter/Pastor, Crossway Aurora, Illinois

Acts 20:24

Tom Harcus

1 Comment

  1. James Larrabee on December 1, 2020 at 2:28 pm

    What a challenging thought Tom. Thank you for taking the time to write this.

    Regarding the prodding for planting, I often wonder if it’s the little churches “The Family”who need the attention…. Families (and the fathers who lead them) under-mentored, coached or, even never having witnessed what fulfilling Duet 6:4 in the home looks like… Could it be what should be paramount to planting is waning?

    Is the reason (for a lack of urgency… a lull in readiness… and only a little whisper of planting, when we should be hearing the sounds of asphalt-screeching, rubber-ripping, Spirit-empowered street launches— winning new regions and realms for Jesus Christ and His kingdom…) due to lack of worship in the home?

    I do not think this is for the Network to get “handsy” with, because it ultimately falls at the local level of leaders, which we’ve prayerfully sent out of our healthy churches…

    However, what if those choice saints were 1st generation, choice saints?

    Could the reason for the question we’re pondering NOT be rooted in a lack, of we’re already doing such a great job with (supporting and equipping healthy churches to go do same), but instead in a shortage of practical “equipment” and vision and experience so desperately needed for 1st generation Christian families to lead their “little churches” to worship?

    *NOTE… I think this could be due to the amount of “conversion growth” we experience on our network. (The challenge of having something so very positive consistently happing)

    What I mean is… Because of a lack of understanding (and therefor willingness) in what family worship looks like for the long run (ie, Missional living in and through the household), we find fewer saying “LORD send us” because of the “risk” involved with immersing ones family (a gift which most 1-Gen saints never knew was so great) in the experience of “mission-friction”… within our homes.

    An example of the battle for worship in the home, which suppresses desire for mission is when we do not grab hold of the muttering subconscious which mutters: “Isn’t it easier to just let the boy read whatever kind of books he’s drawn too?”

    “Is the argument about dating really worth losing my daughters affection for?”

    “Boy, it’s been a long day, let’s skip the neighborhood BBQ for another movie…” we think

    “Family game night runs so much smoother when we don’t have to order extra pizza and invite that messy lost family’s kid!

    Of course, we all know that God never ceases to amaze us when we do not concede to these fleeting thoughts, but maybe more often than we like to imagine… mission just seem all too messy for us common folks…

    That is of course, with exception of accepting the friction we expect Sunday’s and Life-Groups, in our workplaces, and the occasional rub we’ll feel at the local supermarket to share our hope…

    but besides these, we settle for thoughts that whisper… “Life is more abundant when we eliminate all the friction of mission in the home”… “That’s our Safe place”

    So, instead of guiding our families through the mess of mission, pushing us to our knees… we glide into to the “safety” and remission from what God intended the family to do. Be missionaries.

    Now, by the grace of King Jesus, we know and hope this isn’t where our network will settle for retirement… but we must we continue to pose honest questions like yours brother Tom! “For we destroy arguments and EVERY lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God”…

    I think we evangelicals have systems nailed down, but often see Christ’s essential organism drying out in hallways of their households. And these could be the homes of the frontliners, the everyday laborers who are expected to “GO”.

    With so much “burnout” happening with church leaders, Ive often wondered, “if they didn’t make it, how the heck am I!”

    It seems I’m not alone and that many choice families (the individuals who make up the local church; which make up our network) have a mission-paralyzing fear, holding them back from the call… and it’s (in my opinion) rooted in equating mission the with strain, and a pain; Pain not worthy of the risk of the losing the most precious relationships in our very short lives…our precious wives and children.

    Mission is painful… and worth it.
    But if this thought has any validity, this fear inevitably leaves many future church platers lingering at the entrance of the threshold of fear into faith, which is now CAUSING the seizing-up of family worship. You see the cycle. And now due to disobedience to the Spirits desire for us to obey ALL Jesus Commanded, the potential church plater is allowing for his home to be not Fatherless, but Father-stressed and faith-less.

    I do not believe Christ (the Way) would ever wound his most precious organism in the path of His commands to Go… not the family structure I mean. Not that God doesn’t wound for our good sometimes, but that His “good” design was/is always to foster multiplication and discipleship which can be painful but but yields peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who’ve been trained by it. Heb 12:something.

    The kind of family life which leads to mission and planting happens in homes where Christ is the Focus and worship is the purpose… When Deuteronomy 6:4-6 is being played out in its rightful context… Matt 28:18 we will see our network plant more churches, but this might take some equipping, coaching and clarifying.

    If worship (aligning all of me with all that God is and says) is our priority, naturally it protects from burnout…John 15:5; clearing our spiritual ears for the clear prompts of the Spirit to know HOW/WHEN/WHERE to prioritize the “just us moments”in family life. We have to stop thinking were in control of the rate and speed of the calling each of our families have been given and remind ourselves to trust the plan!! We have to stop thinking “we’re wading in the shallow waters because we’re going drown out there!”

    Where do sharks bite? True Worship is like fuel for mission and mission is the motor which keeps us skipping over the waves and dangers in bobbing in beautiful shallow bays of the cul-de-sac Caribbean… where sharks love to feed.

    This simply means taking ownership that we are Owned… and are owed nothing… That our families are “His—for Him”… not “ours—for us”.

    And by making a sacrifice with our most precious of gifts (not like Israelites to Moloch but like Hannah giving Sam for the service of YHVH) in the most sacred of places… the home, surely we will see the fruit of those devoted to Christ’s Call to Go. But It must start at the root, in the home, with the fathers leading— and leaning On Jesus Christ completely… alone and first.

    When this happens, watch out!! We be church-planting. I think this is what it would take.