Seth’s Secret to Viral Church Planting

If you are involved in church planting and have never heard of Seth Godin, you need to pay attention.

Seth Godin

Seth writes mostly about new marketing but I think you’ll find his ideas are refreshingly compatible with Biblically healthy church practices.

This morning I ran across a post Seth wrote a couple of years ago called First, ten. Check it out and let me know in the comments how his marketing “secret” applies to church planters and leaders:

First, ten

This, in two words, is the secret of the new marketing.

Find ten people. Ten people who trust you/respect you/need you/listen to you…

Those ten people need what you have to sell, or want it. And if they love it, you win. If they love it, they’ll each find you ten more people (or a hundred or a thousand or, perhaps, just three). Repeat.

If they don’t love it, you need a new product. Start over.

Your idea spreads.

Making Disciple-Making Disciples

Making disciple-making disciples (or making DMD’s) sounds redundant.

Yet, very few are actually doing what Jesus told us to do in Matthew 28:18-20. Instead, the commission to “make disciples” is often interpreted in one of two ways:

  1. Some “make disciples” by making converts and then outsourcing their “discipleship” to a church program.
  2. Others gather converts together and attempt to “go deeper” but place no emphasis on being a witness to their neighbor.

This is the danger of separating evangelism and discipleship. The former is engaged in evangelism, the latter is engaged in what he or she believes to be discipleship. Evangelism without discipleship isn’t evangelism. Disciple making without evangelism isn’t disciple making.

That’s why we need to recapture a true understanding of what it means to make disciples.

Discipleship Training or Transforming Disciples?

“Discipleship training” is usually a class that informs our knowledge of God but it doesn’t always encourage us to live for God.

Making DMD’s is a much more robust commitment to the spiritual transformation of another. When Jesus told His disciples to go and make disciples, He was basically telling them to make disciple-making disciples. Just as Jesus invested in them, now they were to invest in others.

Matthew 28:20 was a charge to the disciples to teach more disciples to observe all that Jesus commanded (ie “Love God,” “Love people,” and, oh yeah, “Make disciples!”).

Rob Bell, Harold Camping, and Deviations from the Truth

According to Harold Camping: Judgment Day is this Saturday. According to Rob Bell: Don’t worry about it because “love wins”.

Camping and Bell both leave me scratching my head wondering if these men (and others like them) are reading from the same Bible as me. Have they found a new insight no one else has found? Or did they both come down with a bad case of exegesis?

I’ve been studying 2 Timothy 2:14-26 for the past few weeks and I think there are several insights in this passage about how to handle those who “deviate from the truth”.

Diligently Study the Word

The best way to understand if a false teaching needs to be challenged (or even if it is a false teaching) is to know the truth.

2 Timothy 2:15 says,

Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who doesn’t need to be ashamed, correctly teaching the word of truth.

I won’t be held accountable for Rob Bell or Harold Camping’s teaching but I will be held accountable for my own. Will my teaching gain man’s approval or God’s? Will I eventually be ashamed of my teaching?

Before I respond to someone to correct, instruct, or teach, have I thoroughly sought to understand them? Have I carefully considered what the Bible says about the issue? As we read and study and memorize the real thing it’s easier to spot the counterfeit and know how to appropriately respond.