Church in the Wild: Evangelism, Discipleship, and Church Planting for the 21st Century

Post-Christendom has brought new challenges. Forms of church that seek only to attract people to existing buildings and church campuses are no longer connecting with most people.

I live in the tension of having a meaningful experience with the inherited church, but also knowing how out of reach it is for so many. As an abandoned child, the neighborhood church was one of the few safe places in my life. The congregation nurtured me, loved me, and fed me through their never-ending potlucks.

I took a major detour and ended up in a place far away from the church that reared me. Two of our great 21st century poets, Jay-Z and Kanye West, have called that place “the wild.” In their song “No Church in the Wild” they describe a dark world of drugs, violence, and boundaryless sex. A place where people make themselves their own gods. A place where a corrupt church is a place of harm, and therefore, a place where there is no church at all.

I am no stranger to that world. I spent a good deal of my young life there and for me it ended in alcoholism, drug dealing, and multiple felony incarcerations. While I have found my way back to the spiritual home that saved me from the gutters of the wild, many people have not. The church is not even on their radar. For them, there really is no church in sight.

I believe there needs to be a church in the wild. A church that is accessible, safe, and real. For the past fifteen years now, I have been planting those kinds of churches in tattoo parlors, dog parks, burrito joints, yoga studios, and online spaces. I’ve done so from the base of serving an inherited congregation. Not only have we found a way to form church with the so-called “nones and dones” but in so doing we have seen the revitalization of five inherited congregations in a row.

Today, we need a “blended ecology” that includes both existing and new forms of church to thrive on the emerging missional frontier.

I coach leaders and consult with churches across the country. This year alone, I led over 200 trainings, consultations, presentations, and webinars. The focus of my work is how to cultivate new faith communities, often from the base of an inherited congregation.

The creative team at Invite Resources has found a way to bring that training to your team, right where you live and minister. We have designed a new masterclass that equips your team with everything you need to start your own “church in the wild.” This online masterclass includes a full step by step guide to church planting for the 2020s, with real world lessons learned and best practices from 15 years of experimentation.

“Churches in the Wild” are fresh expressions of church, or forms of church for our changing culture, established primarily for the benefit of people who are not yet members of any church. They come into being through principles of listening, service, incarnational mission and making disciples.

This masterclass will empower both leaders and teams, the “priesthood of all believers,” to be unleashed in new ways to join the Holy Spirit’s work of evangelism, discipleship, and church planting. During the course you will learn practical skills and competencies everyday churches are using to become a movement that reaches new people.

The course fee includes a free hardcover copy of Painting with Ashes. Learn more and purchase the course here:

It’s a great resource for church teams who want to save your church budget lots of additional expenses for travel and training costs.

My ultimate hope for this masterclass is that people for whom “there is no church in the wild,” will come to know the unfathomable, unfailing, all-inclusive love of Jesus Christ. I hope it is helpful toward that end.

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