This weekend at Church of the Suncoast we had two church planters and their families come and check out our church plant. They are looking to plant in the same community we just planted in about a year or so from now. As they first contacted me last week it became clear that they were used to feeling the turf wars. It was so sad to me! Has the church really turned that far inward that when we see another church coming to our community that we start rolling out the defenses to fight off any would be competition? Sadly, it has... I hope my response to them showed them a different side to the church world.
Church planters are some of the most generous people I know. When we started back in April of 2006 we got help from a guy less than 20 minutes away. They sent us a team one week to help at our preview services. We got chairs from a guy that had little in the way of cash. And, we got a ton of great ideas from one of my mentors who is again less than 20 minutes from our location. No one worried about turf! It wasn't about trying to compete for believers. The mission for these guys, and for the Suncoast, is to reach out to those far from God. If someone has a church home already I am not trying to get them to come to our church. No turf wars!
What a difference from what these guys must have experienced up North. I told them they are going to reach people that I just will not be able to reach and the Suncoast will reach people they won't. What an awesome picture of what the local church should be like!
The moral of this story: Buy a church planter lunch :-)