By Published On: October 5th, 2022Categories: Leader Blog, Meditation for Preparation0 Comments

I considered not turning in a blog this time. The topic just did not ring out to me. Church planting. Yeah, ok. What’s there to say? I looked for help. I asked my daughter what she would write about this. “Uh…that it’s good?” I asked my husband what he would write, he said, “That it’s not a plant (ha ha).”

You can tell this is not a frequent topic of deep conversation in our house.

I’m a North Waker. I believe in planting churches. I think most, if not all, North Wakers do. North Wake itself is a church plant. Many of us have friends who are planting churches. We pray for church plants. We give financially to, and even visit personally, these churches.

Over half of the country is now unchurched. And since American churches are closing at a rate of 3,700 churches a year, it’s pretty clear that we need church plants.

So what else could I say about church planting?

Then I thought, well, maybe I shouldn’t say much at all. God’s word will say it much better.

“And Jesus came and said to them, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.’” Matthew 28:18-20

Please don’t hear only a heavy, burdensome command. Hear the building of a family. Hear His heart for the lost.

“But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile.” Jeremiah 29:7

When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Matthew 9:36-17

How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?” Romans 10:14

Listen for the voices of new worshippers. Listen for his promise to enable the work.

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” Acts 1:8

He knows this is hard work. It was beyond “hard” for Jesus, the original church planter. Church planting can be a lonely, wrestling kind of work. This is work that requires leaving those you love.

“Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.” Matthew 9:37-39

But…

All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.” 2 Cor. 5:18-20

This is holy, beautiful work. To be entrusted with God’s message. To have the privilege of sharing it. Christ stretches out his nail-scarred hands to the lost through church plants. Through new churches, Christ brings the hurting into God’s kingdom on earth, where—if we are doing this correctly—they might finally feel safe and loved. It can be slow work, but…

“Do not despise these small beginnings, for the LORD rejoices to see the work begin.” Zechariah 4:10

Again, everything on these “pages” is nothing new to me or to you, my church.

All I’ve done is to circle timidly around the real “new” thing God might be saying to any of us…

“I want you to plant a new church. Step out in faith. Go make a welcoming place for my lost children.”

Does that scare you? Maybe, like me, you’re thinking you’ve thought about our topic quite enough.

When the topic of church planting comes along, it’s so easy to nod our heads and say, “Amen. Yes, yes, church planting is good.” While our hearts whisper, “And scary. Too scary.” Squashing that thought, we turn our eyes, throw out a little money, and a send up a Sunday morning prayer to pacify the urge in our spirits to do something more.

Might you dare just to “ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field” (Matthew 9:38)—even if it is you?

Might you talk with a pastor or visit a church plant with the thought of being open to the possibilities of what He wants for your future?

God’s word does not return void. It accomplishes what it plans. Is it doing something new in you?

Whatever God may be saying to us, I pray for my own heart, as well as yours, to be willing to listen. To move beyond what we already know and to follow God into any new journey he puts in our paths. Maybe even church planting.