GCC White PapersBy GCC Staff
April 7, 2020
Is the GCC Right for You? A Guide for Planters or Churches Considering Partnership
Planting Churches. Strengthening Leaders. Those four words describe the life of a network pulsing with a gospel-loving heart to fulfill the Great Commission. We help churches plant churches while providing leadership, training, and care to strengthen the leaders of our churches. We believe God is glorified when healthy pastors and elders lead healthy churches to plant healthy churches together.
If you’re considering the Great Commission Collective (GCC), it’s important for you to know who we are and where we’re going. You’ll want to know our values, the attributes we desire to see in churches we plant, our shared beliefs, the commitments we make to our partner churches, and our expectations from those who affiliate with us. This paper seeks to answer each of these questions.
Who we are is in our name; we are a collective. We are a collective of churches who are planting churches and strengthening leaders. GCC is purposefully a collective built on like-minded theology and relational unity. We are not a denomination or a franchise that promotes a particular brand. Affiliation with GCC is voluntary. The criteria for our network unity are by necessity broader and more inclusive while not compromising doctrinal convictions.
A Vision for Church Planting Networks
Abstraction is the enemy of application. It impresses momentarily, then withers under the call for concrete action. Tell a man to treasure his wife and he stares unblinkingly through vacant eyes. But tell him to date his wife and he’s found a trailhead to treasuring her. Abstraction evaporates under the clarifying light of application.
Most church planting networks want to be gospel-grounded, unified, diverse, and mature. If these aims remain bubble-wrapped in an uptown closet and never walk the concrete streets of our real lives, however, abstraction becomes ruination. The meaning of network will become the old-school inkblot test—flash the “network” inkblot and tune in for the innumerable interpretations.
Abstraction will win and the mission will be lost. Just as local churches thrive on clarity flowing from leadership to members, a church planting network needs clarity on what it is and how it works for prospective and current member churches.
God’s first words spoken over his image bearers were: it’s not good for man to be alone. Humans are created for community because they are made in the image of the Triune God who is never alone. We are relational creatures because we have our origin in a relational Creator. As God exists in Trinity, so we are made to exist in community.
Why We Plant Churches
On September 16th, 1787, the US Constitution was signed. These signatures, however, did not finalize the adoption process. The Constitution still required ratification by at least nine of the thirteen states. But there were obstacles. How would this new government actually function? How would ordinary people really understand and contribute to the polity embodied in this groundbreaking document? In order to persuade the states to ratify and follow the Constitution, an exposition of its meaning and an application of its content was required.
Perceiving an historic opportunity, Alexander Hamilton—one of America’s Founding Fathers— organized the production of The Federalist Papers: eighty-five articles and essays, written largely by Hamilton, to interpret the Constitution and help people understand how it should work within their new government.
With irrepressible prescience, Hamilton predicted the path. For the Constitution to be adopted, it must be understood. To be understood, portions required definition and explanation. Hamilton’s instincts were accurate: the Federalist Papers provided the clarity necessary to galvanize the states and ratify the Constitution, and they remain a national treasure today.
While this paper could never assume the genius of Hamilton, it shares the intent behind his Federalist efforts.
The Great Commission Collective must plant churches; this is our constitutional mandate; anything less represents willful disobedience. For church planting to be achieved, however, it must be understood. To be understood, it must be defined. To be defined, it must be clarified in writing. We chalk a line at that place, then, and mark it as our starting point.
The Partnership Plan
GCC works to accomplish successful partnerships through maintaining strong cultural values and utilizing five core services leading to churches that exhibit the attributes of a GCC church. These five core services assist local churches with their discipleship pathway, leadership pipeline, and church planter preparation, leading to the planting of multiplying churches.