Only the church will multiply the church
Aaron Elliott has been on staff at Grace Church for more than 15 years. His roles have developed with the church over the years, from leadership development, partnerships/outreach, short term trips, and church planting. His current position as of April 2016 is Associate Pastor of Church Planting. He oversees Grace’s multiplication both locally and abroad.
The following is a conversation with Aaron:
What was it like to switch your role to church planting?
“At the core of my calling is to serve emerging leaders. Church planting is that. To just focus on church planting required a little bit of shift. I made that by recognizing that only the church will multiply the church. When I think about the impact Grace has had and the role Grace has played in bringing healing to these broken places all over the world, plus the fact that more people come to Christ through church planting efforts than any other sort of mechanism. When I think of the multiplication of a healthy church like Grace, I’ll give the rest of my life to that. That’s legacy kind of stuff to me.”
Why did Grace start the church multiplication process?
“It starts from a sense of call. We’re a community that seeks to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit, and we believe that God is calling us to make disciples. Church planting is a direct response to the leading of the Spirit. It’s been in our DNA from early on. We helped plant churches in the late ‘90s, early 2000s. Now we’re coming back to it in a way that I think will remain in our culture for a long, long time.”
What are the greatest needs of the church plants in Bloomington and London?
“Two things that are on top of the list in Bloomington. One is venue. They’re starting to convene a team to scout for sites. The second thing is network. They need to meet as many people as they can. For London, we are in a pretty significant transition mode. The Fishers landed there (June 23). The Laurents leave July 9. So they need time to settle into their new homes, new cultures. The second thing is they need a lot of prayer. Britain is obviously going through huge changes right now. Nairobi Chapel has identified four young adult Kenyans who are going to join that team, so favor in the visa process.”
Why should the people of Grace be involved in this?
“This is one of the best expressions for living out our vision. Church planting at its core is seeking to make disciples and launch them into the mission. Secondly, there are individuals who will find their own sense of calling through church plants. The first question people often ask is, “Don’t we have enough churches?” My response is we don’t have enough healthy churches. A church that is making a difference in the world. In any community, there are so many people that are far from God, and there are so many churches, many that are effective and healthy, but many that are not. We have our issues, there’s no doubt. But at our core, there is a relational and spiritual health, and that’s what you want to multiply from.”
What is the potential impact of multiplication?
“If we plant churches that are planting churches, that’s when I would begin to call it success. When we think 10 or 20 years from now, if we’re establishing this with a solid foundation, with health, the return on investment is going to be heard to measure.”