While I was at The Anchorage Project, we talked a lot about living incarnationally and missionally as a form of church planting. You see, in the end, The Anchorage Project is about planting churches whose people are about living transformed lives rather than just having their ideas changed about God. As we talked, Joe (the director) told me a story that someone else had told him last year:
When young children are showing the aptitude to become chess masters, they sit them down and show them all the chess pieces, where they sit on the board and how they move. All the pieces except the Queen (if you don’t know chess, the queen is a very powerful piece that can move in all sorts of ways). As they play people and learn the strategies of chess, no one gets to play with a queen. They learn all about chess and develop strategies using the full abilities of all the different pieces without being dependent on the queen. Once they have come to a point of mastering these strategies, they are thrown for a loop when their next opponent comes in and has a queen and they still don’t. They must continue to play without a queen while their opponent gets to use this very powerful piece. They must continue to play until they develop an understanding of how to use all the other pieces strategically to still win the game – even against their opponent’s queen. It’s only until they continue to play other players who have a queen and win repeatedly that they are awarded a queen to then play with.
In the church planting context – you might consider the Queen to be Sunday Morning. In the past, many churches have started with a Sunday morning only to be try and make Sunday morning do everything – build community, discipleship, worship, etc. Sunday is weighed down and if there’s something wrong with Sundays, then the church doesn’t make it. But what if in our church planting strategies, we start out not dependent on Sunday mornings. While Sunday mornings can create numbers quickly, many sitting there are only keeping the pews warm. What if we instead concentrate on the different aspects of church and only introduce Sunday mornings once these other things are in place? What kind of life transformation would happen then? Anybody out there seen this lived out and would like to comment?