I am not a church planter. Why? I’ve just never done it. I know church planters though, in the US and in Germany. Right now I’m learning a lot from the church planters I know in Florida, but not everything can carry over cross culturally. The one concept that I’m discussing with my pastoral friends now is the simple idea of becoming a part of a community that already exists, rather than inviting people to a become a community. That’s pretty simple, right? A friend of mine lived this out when he became a part of a group of guys who play basketball at a fitness center instead of trying to have a basketball night at the church, to which he would invite people.
I believe this concept is practical for Germany. Why? The church planters I am joining, in Dresden, share the same vision and they have already successfully planted churches. Before I committed to joining their team, Jeff (team leader) told me about an instant community that already exists in German culture. It’s called a Stammtisch. A Stammtisch is a table where a group of like minded people meet regularly to discuss the thing which they have in common and/or to get to know one another better. For example, a friend of mine was invited to join a hunting Stammtisch. All of the hunters in his area gathered at their table weekly to enjoy one another’s company and to discuss hunting. Jeff suggested that this would be the kind of automatic community that he could become a part of, or even create, for the purpose of building relationships. This is something I can do!
Believing that this was something I would learn more about when I moved to Dresden, I put this thought out of mind. It has recently come back to me, as I consider things that I saw when I went on my vision trip to Dresden last summer. I will explain briefly: One night, Frank took me and my friend Roger down to a part of town called the Neustadt. He wanted to share a drink with us at one of his favorite bars. We ended up getting a late night tour of that whole part of town. The streets were filled with bars and various night life scenes. The area of the Neustadt that struck me the most, however, was an intersection where University students had taken over the sidewalks. They were sitting everywhere, enjoying beers and conversation. Apparently, this was a common occurrence. Being that it was only midnight on a Monday, I figured this was a smaller crowd.
Looking back, this path was not coincidental, nor was the friendship I began to build with Frank that night. (Read his story here). Frank is now meeting with Jeff and Anne Ingram weekly to learn about God. Over Christmas break, he told me that he wanted to love Jesus as much as I do this year. Some of you have been praying for Frank. Please keep it up! During our discussion over drinks at the Neustadt about life purpose, I kept thinking: “Frank would be an incredible missionary!” I think God was the one speaking, not me.
My vision is this, I would like to visit the same Neustadt intersection weekly to mingle with University students. After meeting people, I hope to join or start a Stammtisch. As a matter of protection, I hope to get Frank and Jule to come along. I’ve already emailed Frank to ask him what he thinks about this. This could bridge into the church plants that the Ingrams are working on or it could become its own ministry. I don’t know, but I think God is the one revealing this vision to me and I’m excited to see what He does!
I’m not a church planter… YET. There are many steps that have to be walked through before I get to the point where I can put this idea into action, but they are equally important. 1. I must raise funds. This is an opportunity for me to get others involved in what God is doing. 2. I must complete language school in Berlin, so that I can be conversational in German before I move to Dresden. 3. I must be a part of Jeff’s team. I need to learn through observation and through internship. I can’t just jump into a new culture and do what I want to do. I have to be culturally intelligent.
Please jump on board with step 1 and help me get closer to this vision!
(If this is your first time hearing about what I hope to do in Dresden, you should visit leximcnair.com. I do have a desire to work with refugees in Germany as well.)