Missional Urban Church Planting in Chicago

Just got back from a couple-hour conversation with Darrin Patrick and Jonathan McIntosh of The Journey St. Louis, along with a couple dozen or so others interested in church planting in Chicago or urban planting in general. More turned out than I expected (and than they expected), as it was basically a word-of-mouth event (my bad for blogging it!).

All in all it was a helpful event. Probably the biggest thing i took away from it was the encouragement of seeing 30+ guys passionate or at least curious about engaging urban America (and likely Chicago) with the gospel—the whole gospel and all its rich implications. Several good nuggets from Darrin and Jonathan. The last 40 min. or so was devoted to Q & A, with some pretty good questions.

Here are some of the highlights of D & J's presentation:

What does it take to plant an urban church?
  • The right planter (#1 factor in the success of the plant).
  • Ability to engage, critique, and shape culture—both within and without the church.
  • Ability to create and sustain rich community
  • Having church planting built into your DNA (in your calendar and strategic plan)
  • Having a strong arsenal of “deed"/mercy ministry (gospel demands this – sign of the kingdom)
  • Get involved in local and regional (and possibly national) church planting networks.
  • Openness to a variety of forms (e.g. house churches, "attractional").  Don’t think “reproducing what we’re doing” but rather reproduce indigenously (think Church Unique).
Key Competencies of the Planter:
  • Prophet: Asks what? and where?
  • King: Asks how?
  • Priest: Asks who?
  • Preaching ability—in particular, contextualized preaching.
  • Ability to build a system of leadership, rather than a centralized "spoke and hub" form of leadership.
Here were probably the best questions from the Q & A. Interested in your thoughts.

1. How do we deal with issues like gentrification?

2. Should "sites" (satellite campuses) eventually be converted into stand alone plants? If so, how, and on what time frame?

3. How do you evaluate the success of a plant?

4. How do we make the church representative of the surrounding community, particularly in areas of ethnic and socioeconomic diversity?

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