Wednesday, July 02, 2014

My Grandfather, Church Planting, and the Apostle Paul

My grandfather, Dorsey Schenck, was a church planter throughout his ministry, perhaps from his first church in 1924 to his final church. His formula was simple.

In the days before zoning, he would buy or rent a house somewhere to hold church. It wasn't always close to the house he would buy or rent to live in. I suspect he prayed over the houses that were available in a new town, with some strategy as to where he thought might be an area that needed some gospel.

He also, when the economy permitted, usually had a grocery store or a "meat market," as he called one. Again, in the days before zoning laws and Wal-mart, he could set up a store in the front room of a house and even rent out the rest of the rooms if the house was big enough. This pattern reminds me a lot of the apostle Paul, who used his work in tents and leather both to provide for himself and as a way to witness to people.

Simple, but brilliant, sometimes involving three houses. He lived in one. He ran a store in another to engage people and support himself. He used a third to run a church. He might close the store on a Wednesday so he could go door to door in the area of his (house) church to invite people to the evening service and witness. Of course in later life he shifted to actual church buildings.

He didn't necessarily stay long in any one town. He seemed to go from town to town. And if things didn't spark, he would wipe the dust off his feet and move to the next village.

Quite brilliant, it seems to me...

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