by Matt Frazier-VUSA Field Team
Businesses often use models to describe the way they generate income through a blend of strategies, organizational structure, practices, and systems. Church models have been used to develop an understanding of how to structure spiritual formation for success. So why has Vision USA decided to adopt the GSE Process and not a GSE Model?
Model vs Process
Models can be very useful for developing something small, to generate an idea, or to evaluate something larger. Webster’s definition of a model focuses on imitation, simulation or a representation of something larger. However, the same entity defines process as “a natural phenomenon marked by gradual changes that lead toward a particular result.” When we think of a church start, do we think of imitation or representation, or do we think of something natural with gradual changes that lean toward a particular result?
Planting and Growth are Processes
When I tell people that I am church planter, I am greeted with a variety of responses. From the faith community, I receive positive encouragement and a few follow-on questions. From non-believers, I generally get a soft affirmation, with a couple of general questions. However, no one has ever questioned why I call it church planting. It seems natural. The process of planting something to grow and thrive just makes sense to us all. If I were to introduce myself as someone who replicates small churches or who imitates small faith communities, I am sure the questions would be very different. Church planting is a process, not a model.
The GSE Process
At Vision USA, we have adopted the GSE Process to plant new churches. GSE looks different in almost every church we plant. This reflects the creative nature of God. He allows palm tress to grow well in Florida, but not in Maine. Kentucky Blue Grass flourishes in, well, Kentucky. There is so much amazing beauty in the diversity of GSE Process churches because they reach different people.
Gatherer, Shepherd, Elder
GSE stands for Gatherer, Shepherd, and Elder. This simple process is what we train and focus on when planting and coaching church planters. Our network has continued to thrive as we pray for and work toward a movement of new churches in the U.S. and beyond. With this simple process, we have been able to unleash the power of gathering and teach the simple and natural process of pursing Jesus’ mission for His church.