Church Planting 101

Planting A New Missional Community: Is it still “Bonhomme”?
Let’s start out with a few questions:
1. Where is Bonhomme?
 
2. Where is Bonhomme on Mondays? Tuesdays…Saturdays?

Let’s take a poll: Put your hand up (if no one is looking at you while you read this) if you answered these questions with a street address – Conway Road – or something like that. That makes some sense, of course. Now put your hand up if you think these are obvious (read: dumb) questions. Ok. Fair enough. But stick with me. 
Though these seem to be obvious questions – after all, there is only one Bonhomme Church, right?! – when you actually consider what they are asking, you realize that their answers reveal a very, very important perspective on what makes a church a church. 
To highlight this, let me ask you this: Where is your family? Where is your family on Sundays? Mondays…Saturdays? How do you answer that question? Do you answer it with a fixed street address?  It depends, right? It depends on where your family happens to be located at the time, and it depends whether your whole family is “gathered” or is “scattered.” In other words, you know intuitively that your family isn’t a building; it is a living organism of relationally connected people. To put a fixed street address on a family is nonsensical (unless, of course your family never leaves a particular street address ).  Of course, if I asked you where your house is, you would do well to answer with a street number. But to answer the question, “Where is your family?” with a street address is unfitting. Your family isn’t equivalent to your house. 
Here’s the point (that I’m sure you’ve gotten by now): Bonhomme is not a building; it is a living organism – a family, a community of people relationally connected to one another.  If this is true, then the answer to our initial question — Where is Bonhomme? – would have to be, “Well, it depends on the time and day, I suppose. On Sundays, we collectively gather at the building on Conway Road – in our various worship communities. On Weekdays, we gather in small groups, or Bible studies, or ministry teams, while the rest of us are scattered throughout the county in our homes and workplaces.” “Bonhomme” is a community that is at times gathered and scattered. It is not a building.
This leads us to a more thought-provoking question: If a building at a fixed street address doesn’t make Bonhomme a church, then what does? And, secondly, if location doesn’t make Bonhomme a church, then if we start a new Missional Community that meets a few miles away, is that still Bonhomme?
Well, by now you can guess what the answers are to those questions, right? We are unified by our commitment to Jesus and to one another; that’s what makes Bonhomme Bonhomme. And if we are unified by these commitments, our Missional Community, which will also be committed to Jesus and to one another, will also be Bonhomme. 
When we plant the Missional Community (when 40+ adults are called to go), that Community, though it will have a different street address, will certainly still be Bonhomme. And everyone who participates in that Missional Community will still be part of the Bonhomme community, and they will still participate in all the good things Bonhomme does in our county, city, and the world. 
When we plant, we will be able to say to our friends, neighbors and coworkers: Come to Bonhomme! Our one church family is made up of a Traditional Community, a Contemporary Community, and a Missional Community. There’s a place for you!

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