Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Moving Beyond Spout Springs

In the old days they were called “Circuit Riders.”

Often rural communities were too small to support a pastor, but they still needed to hear the Word of God. Circuit riders were the solution. One pastor, usually with a horse or mule, would ride from town to town. He’d preach the first Sunday in one town, that night in another, Tuesday or Wednesday in a third. Often the circuits were so large, it took the rider five or six weeks to preach in every town. Then he’d start over.

The days of the circuit rider are gone in America. But the concept is one that Spout Springs might well be able to use to reach beyond our community.

See, God calls every church to reach beyond its immediate vicinity and into the world. And how, exactly, does the circuit-rider concept help? Well, we have the opportunity to do our own version of circuit riding, but instead of horses or mules, we can use DVD’s and the Internet.

For example, let’s say we feel led to plant a church in another part of Harnett County (or Lee or Cumberland or Moore). It’s expensive to hire and train a church planter, help him form a core group, rent facilities, etc. But if we take a group of our own people who live near the new area and use DVD’s of our existing teaching services, we can start a new church (actually a second campus of Spout Springs) for a fraction of the cost, multiplying instead of adding, and being much better managers of God’s money.

We can also go back to one of the places where the circuit riders plied their trade, the mountains of Central West Virginia. I’ve always felt burdened to reach the young adults of that area, but knew that financially those small towns could never support a church like ours. But if we recorded our teaching, all we need to do is go into the communities, get a group together, identify a member of the community to serve as a part-time lay pastor to help build connections, train the core group, develop a worship team, and start sending them the DVD’s.

The concept could even work overseas. If we make DVD’s of our services, we can send them to our deployed and TDY personnel, and they can have “mini Spout Springs Churches” in their bases.

Of course, to get this started we’ll need the video equipment. Probably cost around $5000. (Scott’s personal equipment isn’t up to the demands we’re talking about here.) But I’m already contacting other churches and organizations to see if they can provide those start-up costs.

Then we’ll be able to effectively reach beyond our community, touching people throughout the world, just like Jesus told us to.

Let’s ride!

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