Friday, January 22, 2010

Vision Toronto: Fair Oaks Church’s Adventure in Church Planting

It’s hard to believe it’s been just over a year now (January 10th) since Fair Oaks Church held the church-wide mini-conference “PIVOT” at which the LOUD ON POURPOSE vision was launched and it was announced that Fair Oaks Church would be planting a church in Toronto (yes, Canada) in about 18 months… a church to be led by our own Pastor Roy Dowdy and his family.

How exciting! A church-planting! Bitter-sweet, yes. The Dowdy family is an integral part of Fair Oaks' creative and family ministries. Irreplaceable. But God’s call to be the seeds of a church-planting is awesome – awesome for the Dowdy’s, awesome for Fair Oaks, awesome for the Great Commission and awesome for the kingdom of God!

My husband, Edward, grew up in the Christian Missionary Alliance (CMA) church. And although I was raised in the Catholic church, I began attending the CMA church when Edward and I were dating, I was saved in the CMA church, it’s the church we were married in and it’s the church we served in until God called us to Fair Oaks in 2005. Church-planting is one of the CMA’s core values in fulfilling the Great Commission so when we heard Fair Oaks was planting a church in Toronto, we totally “got it” and supported it 100%.

I recently visited the CMA website and pulled an article about the biblical perspective of church planting. Here are some of the highlights:
Key Biblical X Factors / X Equals Multiplication
August 22, 2006
A look at the Acts of the Apostles from the perspective of the multiplying church . . .

Ten Behaviors of Church-Multipliers
1. Wait for the Holy Spirit’s Power - Acts 1:4, 1:14, 15, 16-26 & 2:1, 19:13-16 - Don’t miss the activity surrounding the word WAIT. WAIT did not, and does not mean be idle!2.
Trust God to Provide - Acts 1:8-8:1, 16:6, 19:10, 5:1-11 - Today more than ever we need to hear from God and receive His direction.3. Anticipate Victories Emerging from God’s Control - Acts 8:1-8, 12:1-19 - Multiplication attracts opposition and God leverages all of this for His purposes.4. Expect and Discern Divine Appointments - Acts 5:16-39, 8:26-40 - The church multiplier properly aligned with God is now confident to observe and go with what God is doing.5. Observe and Join what God is Doing - Acts 9:1-31, 17:16-17 - The best multipliers don’t get so lost in activity that they miss the circumstance. They have good timing. They are moving.6. Stand Strong Even in the Face of Opposition - Acts 5:40-6:1, 7:59-60 - Church multipliers are more influenced by the eternal than preoccupied by the temporal.7. Praise First - In and Out of Adversity - Acts 3:6-10, 16:22-30 - Church multipliers recognize that praise is potent. God receives it and deserves it. He lives in this praise! He multiplies in the environment of praise.8. Build Bridges to the People - Acts 10:1-29, 11:18 - Being immovably certain of how we should minister will blind us to incredible opportunities.9. Empower and Release Your Best People - Acts 6:5-7:60, Acts 13:1-3, Acts 13:5 - Multiplying churches are the residual of multiplying leaders.10. Relentlessly Focus on Bringing People to Christ and His Kingdom - Acts 20:24 - This is why we multiply leaders. This is why we multiply churches. And you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. – Jesus

If people have never been exposed to the church-planting model, there’s an unfortunate opportunity for misunderstanding and interpreting the church pastoral growth as “leaving” their home church. I’m sure there was a small element of that, it would be natural. But it broke my heart when I read on Tracey Dowdy’s blog that there were members of our church family who immediately cut off their relationship with them when Vision Toronto was announced.

Really? This is a God-led Fair Oaks initiative that everyone should be supporting – spiritually, logistically, financially and relationally. The Dowdy’s are not really leaving – not spiritually, just physically. It’s an opportunity to pull together, not pull away.

Please go visit their blog “Vision Toronto” (go now) and let them know much you love and support them.

1 comment:

tracey said...

Thanks for your thoughts Lauren. We're humbled to have such an incredible level of support from Pastor Stokes & our friends at Fair Oaks.