We are passionate about seeing people moving outside the four walls of the church building to reach the lost. We asked Jared and Britton Wigton to share what they’ve learned from doing just that and we love their insights!
So, Jared, what are your thoughts on having church “in the harvest”?
Well, I think the biggest thing God has taught me is that the harvest is, indeed, plentiful. Being in the military we are constantly on the move, only staying in places for a couple of years at a time. I am continually blown away by how much God is at work in each of these places, in both pre-existing disciples ready to get down to business and lost folks ready to come into the kingdom of God.
How about you, Britton?
The first thing that comes to mind with this question is our son, Sam. By having Sam with us in the harvest, it really makes me feel like we are a family on a mission together. He’s there when I share with people in the grocery store, there when we practice communion and pray with our house church. Both Jared and I feel like God has entrusted Sam to us, to help him know Jesus, and I can’t think of a better way to help that than seeing church in action. Oh, and I like that we’re not dependent on a building – the church is mobile, it comes with us on vacation, when we’re visiting family, and when we move to the next duty station.
Okay Jared, back to you with the next question: How have your thoughts on church changed over the past few years?
What began as a hunch is now a rock-solid conviction: discipleship cannot be separated from church, and vice versa. Discipleship is the engine, but the church is the vehicle, the means by which the kingdom of God advances down the road. I believe this is what Jesus was getting at when he looked at Peter and called him the rock upon which he would build his church. I also am pretty convinced that the reason this is so essential is authority – we cannot expect to see our disciples act like full-grown adults if we don’t give them the biblical authority to form and multiply churches.
I’ll ask you the same question, Britton. How have your thoughts on church changed over the past few years?
When we started out doing this four years ago, I probably would have preferred to stick with calling it a bible study. I didn’t want to ruffle any feathers and was fearful that folks would just reject us. But, two years ago when we moved to New Jersey, to a place where we knew no one, the stakes for finding a group of people seriously committed to one another were high. If we didn’t, we’d be alone! Committing to being a church, observing the model and guidance given for this sort of gathering in the Bible, brings a seriousness that I feel wouldn’t have been there if we were just a bible study. The relationships become like family – we go deeper because we’ve made that commitment. And it’s also really cool to see how after this commitment is made, the giftings really come out – folks start working together and the body gets to work!
Okay Britton, that’s great. Any parting shots?
Yeah – this is hard at the start! I think we’ve found that the early days, especially when you’re in a new place, are tough. You think you’ll never find faithful people, that it would be best just to give up. But God’s faithfulness doesn’t fail! With fits and starts, as you put in the work of sharing and training and just giving of yourself, the thing that you felt like you were pushing uphill suddenly becomes life-giving, encouraging, a place of warmth and comfort.
How about you Jared?
The only thing I’d add for folks coming into this sort of paradigm is to tell you what, to me, church-planting movements are all about. Yes, there are great, Biblical strategies for reaching the lost and training the saved effectively. Yes, there is a really healthy, compelling model of church that is unlike anything you’ve probably ever seen. But this is all secondary behind the big, white-hot faith that Jesus is at work in the world in BIG WAYS! Remember, he promised that we would see greater things then he did during his time on earth – and he rose from the dead! The person of Jesus, revealed through his Holy Spirit and the Word, has to be the central thing attracting you to check this model out – or else you’ll be disappointed. The cost is high, but when you’re playing for an audience of one, it’s worth it!