Lots of good stuff from Ed Stetzer in a recent installment of his “Viral Church” book promotion series.

“We’ve adopted a mentality of “clergification,” believing that the only people who can plant churches are full-time, paid pastors. As a result, we have a long line of prospective planters (because church planting is definitely the hot thing right now) all waiting for someone to say, “You’re clergy. You’re full-time. Here’s your money.” And there’s not enough money for all of them. We’ve bought all the church planting that we can buy, and that’s not enough to start a church multiplication movement.”

I didn’t realize that there were so many church planters waiting in the wings, but Ed calls out the bottleneck perfectly.

“Strange as it may seem, permission is all many people need. They need some way to say, “What I am doing is legitimate.” Granting new people permission to step into church planting, especially in low-polity denominations, should be a commonality, and yet so many have an unspoken understanding of not thinking it proper for new people to plant churches.”

I agree that Christians are hung up waiting for permission, but I don’t think the answer is to deliver hollow proclamations like permission is ours to give. I’m pretty sure Jesus gave all the permission we need with in the Great Commission. Perhaps we need to root cause this need for permission.

“Yes, I think that there are qualifications for the office of pastor (though not all churches need to be planted by pastors–that could come later). Passages like 1 Timothy 3 lay out those qualifications–but they do not list a full time salary and a seminary education.”

Yep. The word “pastor” needs a serious overhaul in American culture. See Alan Knox’s blog for more on that.

“Beyond giving permission, we need to celebrate when people leave our church to plant another. They’re not betraying us; they’re following Jesus on His mission. We need to abandon territorialism and set aside our own egos and usher people from our own church into new lanes. As we do so, we will create systems of permission, letting people see others similar to themselves doing the same thing they’re doing. The system might be small at first, but it can grow over time into something revolutionary.”

It’s the difference between gathering and scattering. Here’s a hint: when farmers sow seed, they scatter the seed, and in this way, a given crop multiplies. When seed is gathered, it eventually becomes stale and impotent.