Leading the pack

I don’t imagine you’ve ever heard of Wout Poels, Vasil Kiryienka, Mikel Lande, Mikel Nieve and Sergio Henao. You might possibly have heard of Ian Stannard, Luke Rowe and Geraint Thomas. But I’m certain you’ll have heard of Chris Froome.

He’s the one that everyone gets to hear about because he’s just won his third Tour de France. He was hugely impressive. He’s a very gifted bike rider in peak physical condition who outperformed all of his rivals and therefore a deserved winner. But, as he repeatedly said in post stage interviews, he would not have won the coveted Yellow Jersey without the support and sacrifice of his Sky Team colleagues. And he’s absolutely right.

But it’s not immediately obvious to the outsider that that’s the case. To all intents and purposes, cycling looks like an individual sport. After all, it’s a bunch of people on their own bike racing for victory. But few of us realise just how much of a team game it is. I didn’t. Not until I started getting into cycling.

It’s not that dissimilar to church planting. The planter is the one that everyone hears about. And we (that is the Antioch Plan) must share the blame for that. It’s invariably the planter’s picture that we feature in the promotional material and it’s them that we talk and blog about. And it dawned on me during the Tour de France that we probably don’t make enough of the team that God has gathered around the planter. And that’s not great.

I know that not everyone wants their name up in lights. So you’ll be pleased to know that we’re not proposing that. But, in case you hadn’t realised it yet, behind the church planter there are a host of people who make these new church plants happen. And the planters would be the first to admit it. After all, if the planter tries to do everything on his own that’s the way to burnout. They know they need others and not simply to fill up the empty seats. They know they need people to do the work of ministry through which God typically grows churches. And so this is a post in which we want to acknowledge and applaud the gospel inspired efforts of the launch teams that God has gathered and given to our Antioch Plants. Praise the Lord for all that they’ve been able to do so far. And may He enable them to keep on keeping on to the glory of His Son.