In this session from the Exponential conference, Brian Hook explores the difference between funding churches and multiplying movements, and very clearly explains why church planting is not only the best way to reach a community, but also is the very heart of God, a movement before time that God has called us to participate in with Him.
Over the last decade, Brian has focused on the multiplication and mobilization of disciples. Currently, he leads Hope Church in Las Vegas, Nevada, which focuses on planting churches in the western United States. Before that, he led NorthWood Church Planting in Dallas, Texas. In the podcast excerpt below, Brian shares a recent story of being in Ghana and planting the Kingdom of God in unexpected ways.
“I was in the Northern part of Ghana, an area they believe is the birthplace of sacrificial idol worship. We were there to build a building where the church we planted, Hope Church Ghana, has planted nine churches in the last 18 months. As I walked up The Tongo Hills with the church planter, we began to pray that the Kingdom of God would come to this area. We walked up there with some Muslims, who were listening to our prayers. We came back down the mountain, and our team was there, ready to start the building. The Muslims were listening to what we would be doing, and then we began to see what they were doing. Muhammad and his friends were building bricks for his project. That night, God spoke to us that we needed to help Muhammad and his friends, so that’s what we did all week. You’d be amazed at how many verses and questions they had about Jesus. We have another team there this week that’s working on the church building. Guess who’s helping them? Muhammad and his friends. So the Muslims there are helping the Christians at Hope Church Ghana build a church building. That’s the Kingdom of God.
“A week before, we had to be willing to ask, ‘God, what are You doing?’ and then join Him in that even though it was not at all what we had planned to do.
“Dallas Willard has a great definition of the Kingdom of God: ‘Jesus in action.’ Wherever Jesus is in action, that’s the Kingdom of God, the here and now, the arrival of a present reality. I believe that many people who are not believers are experiencing the Kingdom of God. When a Muslim comes to know Christ through a vision, that’s the Kingdom of God. When a Muslim sees Jesus in action and is drawn to that, this is the Kingdom. As church planters, we have to pray the Kingdom of God because if you focus on the church, you’ll miss the Kingdom. But if you focus on the Kingdom, you’ll get the church. So you have to ask yourself: What am I planting? Am I planting my dream church, or am I joining God in His Kingdom activity?
If you focus on the church, you’ll miss the Kingdom. But if you focus on the Kingdom, you’ll get the church.
Brian Hook has served as an associate pastor, senior pastor, church planter and coach to planters. He is currently leading the equipping, multiplying and mobilizing of disciples as lead pastor of Hope Church in Las Vegas, Nevada. Previously, he served as a city catalyst in Dallas-Fort Worth to bring together churches, domain leaders, and networks to plant churches strategically. He and his wife, Jessica, live in Henderson, Nevada, with their four children, Phoenix, Dallas, Noah and Faith.