Big Life – Innovating church planting

Recently my wife and I visited Ben Francis In Kolkata. Ben heads up Big Life in Asia and is our new BMS World Mission partner.  We had the privilege of having a visit from Ben in May and wanted to visit him and see what he was doing.

When I first heard about Big life, it was the numbers that really caught my attention.  Having recently celebrated their 10 year anniversary they were also able to announce 12,000 churches planted and somewhere in the region of 200,000 new converts.  Clearly they are making a big difference. My summary of their approach is as follows:

  • Identify an unreached people
  • Use various approaches to enter the community and find the person of peace (Luke 10)
  • Work with person and disciple them to plant and lead a church

Those familiar with church planting might be thinking that the model doesn’t sound very innovative.  However, there are two things that I think they do that are different from the ways in which others are operating.

First, it is radically simple.  Often we like to develop cunning  and  detailed tactical plans that handle every last eventuality.  However, they have resisted the urge to add elements and over-complicate and I think this is innovative.  The benefit of this approach is that it can work with a wide range of contexts and that it is easily replicated by people who may not have had decades of experience in church planting.

The second way in which I think their approach is innovative is the speed.  Without sacrificing a relational person-centred model they are able to move at a pace I haven’t seen elsewhere.  The result of this is that they are multiplying their impact at an incredible rate, aiming to plant between 15 and 18 churches every day in 2014.  This speed comes both from the simplicity mentioned above, but also from a trust in the process and the power of the Gospel.

A final benefit which arises from the simplicity and speed of their mission model is that it comparatively cheap.  Clearly this means that more can be achieved with the same limited resource.

Big Life is an amazing movement and I would encourage you to find out more about them.  The video below, though a few years old, describes in a bit more detail how they work.

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