gathering a core or stealing the sheep?

Paul Levy
We are in the full flush of a church planting frenzy here in the UK. It's a great thing that so many gospel churches have been planted in the last 10 years and over that we rejoice. There's no doubt that it's something of a fad and at the moment it's the trendy thing to do but that doesn't mean it's not the right thing to do. I expect in 5 years time there will be something else that is popular.

My question, having met a few church planters in the last few weeks, is, when somebody says they are looking to gather a core, is that code language for we're looking to take people from another church and put them into our church plant? That isn't a criticism but I think we need to call a spade a spade. Of course those of us in established churches need to be gospel hearted and generous but I think we also need to give the church planting movement a bit of a slap. To grow churches in this country is hard, hard work and to turn churches round is tough and so somebody turning up and trying to take the people you've cared for can be somewhat trying. I'd love it if I met with a church planter and, when I asked him what stage are you at, he replied 'I'm trying to steal Christians from other churches.' I'd at least give him points for honesty.