Thursday, September 05, 2013

Petyon Jones and Church Zero

So I ran into this guy at Exponential this year named Peyton Jones. Turns out, he has a really cool book on APEST. I love this guy, his personality, and his pioneering ways. Peyton Jones founded New Breed Church Planting.  He is the author of Church Zero: Raising1st Century Churches Out of the Ashes of the 21st CenturyChurch.  Peyton is also the co-host of the Church Planter Podcast and Managing Editor of Church Planter Magazine (Free Subscriptions available through this link: ). Here is the Interview. 
TC: Your new book Church Zero deals with a theme that’s very close to my heart, namely the recovery of APEST to the church.
PJ: I actually term the APEST as FIST leadership, using each of the fingers as a metaphor for each of the roles.  I think in pictures, I can’t help it.  That’s why I thought your diagrams in Permanent Revolution were fantastic.  That really worked for me.
TC: Speaking of pictures, you’ve got some funny stuff in Church Zero.  Tell me about your writing style?  There’s a lot of pop culture references.  In fact, more so than most Christian books.  What’s that about?

PJ:  Well, after being on the mission field in Europe for 12 years, I had to start to learn to communicate in pictures.  To say that Europeans are biblically illiterate would be an understatement.  I love them to death, but when I got there, I realized that my standard American way of preaching wasn’t working.  When I started utilizing everything I could from pop culture to communicate the gospel, I started to see the gears turn in people’s brains and the lights came on.  It changed me.  In America, you can still reference Moses and people know who you mean.  Not there. There is a second reason too.  I’m the grandson of a best-selling author, and My wife is an English Lit major with a MA in Creative Writing.  We love books and literature, so when I write, I tend to pick a theme for my illustrations.  It’s a sort of literary device.   For example, in Church Zero I propose that the church is still stuck in the 80s and wondering why nothing is working.  So, most of the illustrations from that book are from the 80s; Heman, Star Wars, Karate Kid, Voltron. Plus, I watched a lot of TV growing up!
TC: The chapter titles themselves are amusing.  For example, Chapter One is titled “This is Gonna Hurt”, Chapter Seven “Blowing Up the Deathstar”, and Chapter Eight “Why Your Church Sucks”.  What kind of response have you gotten from this?
PJ:  People are pretty intrigued by the book.  When they read it they usually agree.  It is calling for a reformation in the church and it doesn’t take the combat boots off.  It comes out swinging and ends by kicking the door down.  They called it “A Punk Rock Approach to a Pastoral Issue”.  I’m happy with that.  It’s meant to be provocative, edgy, and prophetic.  I basically felt as if God asked me if I wanted to be liked or if I wanted to be used.  It couldn’t be both.  I’ve never run after celebrity.  I’ve always been a “keep your head down and charge ahead” kind of guy.  I’m more excited about the ride I’ve been on the past 14 years starting up churches in Starbucks, or the inner city.  I’ve become addicted to planting like other guys are addicted to getting tattoos.
TC: Is that the kind of thing that people can expect when they knock at the door of your training Network “New Breed Church Planting”?
PJ: Well, I think it’s safe to say that it’s the embodiment of Church Zero.  It’s a 1st century style Church Planting network. It’s the kind of network that I wish I had access to when I stared on this journey.  We operate much like the Apostle Paul did in the 1st century. We train people up through doing. We actually take them with us and show them, rather than just make them sit in a classroom.
TC: But the classroom stuff is still valuable right?
PJ: Of course. Paul taught his church planters daily in the school of Tyrannus, using Ephesus as a planting hub. You’ve heard of the 7 churches of Asia? Well, over the two years Paul was there, he sent his planters out to plant those churches. It’s a combination of theory and practicum.
We have a couple of unique distinctives.  First, we value the five roles in Ephesians 4, and we’re also dedicated to reaching the unreached. In that sense, we’re not original, but unusual.
Secondly, we are very missional and frontlines about planting. We go where the need is, not where the money is.  Right now I’m passionate about planting amongst the urban poor.  Plants that serve merely to set up a career for the planter bug me to no end. We always say, “If you want to reach the ones nobody is reaching, then you’ve got to go where nobody is going, and do what nobody is doing.”
Thirdly, we plant churches that plant churches. It’s about multiplication for us.  Paul didn’t have transfer growth issues, and the way we train guys, and where we send them, it doesn’t become an issue.
TC: I raised that because I knew that you also teach planting at the University level.
PJ: Yes, I do. I’m passionate about passing the torch on to this generation. I realize that not everybody can just up stakes and come train at one of our hubs. Although I’m currently developing online education for multiple institutions, we’re making all our training available via the internet at the New Breed Church Planting website.  We’re pretty proud of the fact that all of the profit from the sales of those materials actually pay for the training of another church planter.  That’s something you don’t really see done.  In fact, it’s the only reason we even charge for those materials.  Everything else we do is free, just because we know that church planters are poor.
TC: Right now, Church Planter Magazine is also free isn’t it?
PJ: Yes, we keep approaching ministries to buy bulk subscriptions so that the planters can have it for free.  We are passionate about getting the help to the guys on the ground who need it.  It’s in the iTunes store for the Apple Newsstand, but we’re working on a Kindle, and Droid version as well.
TC: Peyton thanks for letting us pick your brain, and get to know you a bit.

PJ: Well, the contents of my brain made for a short interview, but it’s been my pleasure.  Your work has been a huge help to me as well, and I look forward to what you do next.

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