Every church that stands is a miracle from God. This is good and challenging news for anyone that feels led to launch a church. Church planting in America today is blessed with an abundance of support systems, strategies, and resources for pastors and leaders. However, raising up a faith-filled and disciple-producing community from the ground up requires more. It requires the hand of God.
Every church that stands is a miracle from God.
Today’s secular culture teaches us that all one needs to make great things happen is a dream and the ability to put in the hard work. Dreaming and hustling are done without the power of the Holy Spirit. Yet, God must be included in the process in matters of kingdom building. We need to depend on Jesus and fervently obey his words and ways to invite the help of his presence.
The fact that Jesus is the ultimate determining factor in launching a church is good news because the power and responsibility to accomplish the mission reside in him. It is challenging, however, because it confronts the habits and perspectives of what our entrepreneurial, go-getter inclinations lead us to have.
Devotion to Jesus
In Revelation 1, John sees a vision of seven lampstands representing God’s seven churches, the first church plants of their time. In Revelation 2, God tells the Christian community in Ephesus, “If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place” (verse 5). We can glean many things from this sobering admonishment.
God takes the matter of his churches seriously.
First, God takes the matter of his churches seriously and measures the heart of each one. A church’s genuine devotion to Jesus and his ways is critically important since it cannot be conjured by human effort. This devotion requires a supernatural touch because soul work is God’s work.
God’s Role in Church Planting
Secondly, the fate of the church is in God’s hands. He determines whether a lampstand is given or taken away. In other words, God determines whether a church stands or falls. Although in need of repentance, Ephesus’s church stood simply out of God’s mercy. The sobering reality is that a fully funded and resourced church plant does not guarantee a healthy, fruitful church. In a time like this, it is all too essential for us to make sure that we are in it to ensure a healthy, fruitful church.
The fate of the church is in God’s hands.
If your ministerial journey leads you towards building a body of Christ, then continually challenge the instinct to depend solely on physical resources and people to make it happen. Amid fundraising, team recruiting, and event planning, never forget that faith is also an invaluable resource, although it is often unseen and unfelt. Faith is a required tool that is sharpened and developed in times spent with Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith (Hebrews 12:2). Abiding in Him during the waiting, praying, and praising allows us to bear much fruit (John 15:5).
Spiritual Rhythms and Practices
Building a church is spiritual work that requires intentional spiritual rhythms and practices, all of which are easily overlooked and undervalued in the process. Church planting is a needy endeavor indeed. It needs much time, funding, and helping hands. It requires a vision for the things that are not yet built and hope for a people that are not yet gathered.
Sometimes, we do it with fear and trembling because these needs can be demanding. However, the calling must not bow to the demands, and we must not bow to these demands. Matthew 6:33 reminds us, “Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” As a spiritual leader who must seek many things to gather a people to become a church, seek God first.
Building a church is spiritual work that requires intentional spiritual rhythms and practices.
Consult God when you are stuck and sit with him when you are weary. Look to him when in need and thank him for each step forward. The right connections will come along the way, and the strategies will be clarified. Hard work will undoubtedly transpire, and a plan will surface. Yes, the Lord can and will use these things. However, your priority is to lean into his words and ways. A church is often built on the terrain of the impossible. By the grace of Christ, we can build on that terrain because of our friendship with God.