We are currently accepting applications for our 2014-2015 class of church planting residents. This is part 2 of a series on the distinctives of the Summit Network. For part 1, go here. To find out more about planting through the Summit Network, go to www.TheSummitNetwork.com/plant.
Distinctive # 2: we pursue depth & width.
Our first distinctive was gospel-centeredness, our second is depth and width.
In reality, our second distinctive builds off our first: the gospel compels us to care about depth AND width. The Great Commission, which in many ways contains the marching orders of the church, implies both. We are to reach people from every nation on earth. That’s width. And we are to make true disciples of them, teaching them to obey all that Jesus has commanded. That’s depth.
This is contrary to how most of us think and act. Depending on our personality and passions, we usually focus on one more than the other. Churches that prioritize depth measure success by how mature their people are. Churches that prioritize width measure success by how many people they reach.
But the Great Commission implies that both are essential. Churches that grow wide without growing deep may not be producing width that lasts. Jesus commanded us to make disciples, not just converts. There is nothing wrong with counting and celebrating conversions. But heaven counts disciples, not just those who prayed a prayer or signed a card.
On the other hand, churches that grow deep without growing wide may not be producing real depth. Certainly a church can be completely faithful and not see fruit. But we should never be satisfied with a lack of fruit. The gospel is the power of God for salvation. Jesus taught his disciples to expect fruit. So when our churches lack fruit, we should question whether we’re really being faithful. If our church grows in depth, but doesn’t care for width, then we aren’t as deep as we think.
As a network, we seek to live in this tension. We care deeply about theology and making mature disciples. But we are also driven with a sense of urgency to reach the lost.
Mike McDaniel (@mikermcd) is the director of The Summit Network and serves as a Church Planting Pastor at The Summit Church in Raleigh-Durham, NC.