If church planting were easy, everybody would be doing it. While church planting is not rocket science, it is a lot of old-fashioned hard work. The New Testament abounds with applications of the word work in relation to church planting.
FORWARD TO THE WORK
“As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them.” (Acts 13:2)
The Holy Spirit that called and sent the New Testament church planters to the work is the same Holy Spirit that has challenged the church today to the work of church planting.
FULFILLING OF THE WORK
“And thence sailed to Antioch, from whence they had been recommended to the grace of God for the work which they fulfilled.” (Acts 14:26)
As we examine the practice of our modern churches, we must ask ourselves if we are engaged in and fulfilling the same work our New Testament forefathers fulfilled. What is our plan or strategy today to fulfill the work of starting churches and ordaining men to the Gospel ministry as leaders of newly planted churches?
FAILURE IN THE WORK
“But Paul thought not good to take him with them, who departed from them from Pamphylia, and went not with them to the work.” (Acts 15:38)
John Mark had every opportunity to co-labor in this great work, but he chose to go his own way and sought to do his own thing. How many leaders of our churches are failing this biblical mandate and are choosing by default, as John Mark did, to not go with them to the work?
May we not be guilty today of a lack of willingness when it comes to the work of church planting.
FAITHFUL IN THE WORK
“Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.” (1 Corinthians 15:58)
The church at Corinth was a church planting work that was challenged to preach the Gospel they had received to the regions beyond. May we find ourselves faithful and fruitful in His work.
FRIENDS IN THE WORK
“Now if Timotheus come, see that he may be with you without fear: for he worketh the work of the Lord, as I also do.” (1 Corinthians 16:10)
What are you doing to help encourage the spirit of cooperation as co-laborers together with God in the work of church planting?
Let’s pray and give and help encourage other churches in the work of planting churches through the local church.
FOCUS ON THE WORK
“But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.” (2 Timothy 4:5)
May every pastor seek to do the work of an evangelist—watching in all things and enduring afflictions—in leading the church they under-shepherd in the great work of seeing new churches started! May God give us a holy unction for the work whereunto we have been called!
Author: DR. JIM TOWNSLEY
God is never in a hurry, and He is never late. He is working from the perspective of eternity. Church building is not swift or immediate. God may slow our progress or even set us aside for a time to make us stronger. Moses was forty years in the wilderness before he led Israel out of Egypt. Paul was saved several years before his missionary journeys. Likewise, God develops the preacher through trials and struggles which always requires the element of time. We must get to know ourselves, and our utter weakness before God can use us. A. W. Tozer stated, “God cannot use a man greatly until He first wounds him deeply.”
H. Strong was asked by a student, “Is there a shorter course I may take?” “Oh yes,” he replied. “It depends upon what you want to be. When God makes an oak, it takes 100 years; when He grows a squash, it takes only a few months.” It has been stated that the foremost requirement of a strong church is the longevity of the pastor. Church building requires time. Both good and bad experiences contribute to the maturing of the pastor which leads to the maturing of the church as a whole. Growth in the oak is not uniform, neither is it uniform in the Christian; there are times of solidification. A tree experiences most of its growth during four to six weeks in the summer. There are no shortcuts to spiritual growth. Every pastor will experience droughts as well as growth and times where the church is being solidified.
There is the temptation to seek experiences and blessings without experiencing the solidifying process of growth that makes us strong. The temptation is great to follow the latest fad and in essence the latest shortcut to growth. In the end, it will be through obedience to the Word of God and allowing God to refine the preacher that leads to true growth. Fruit ripens slowly — days of sunshine and days of storms each add to the process until the fruit comes to maturity.
True spiritual growth involves pain as well as joy, suffering as well as happiness, failure as well as success, inactivity as well as service, death as well as life. The temptation to take a shortcut is especially strong unless we see the value of and submit to the necessity of the time element. “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.” – Philippians 1:6
There are emotional highs and lows for every church. God is still working even during the lows to teach and mature His people. Every preacher wants to build a great church, but God wants to build a great people. God’s plan requires time, and the wise preacher will be patient, waiting upon God to do His work in us and in His church. Working hard and striving to be your best is admirable and every man of God should seek to be his best for the Lord. However, we must never lose sight of the fact that it is God’s church, and He will build it. Building an oak takes a long time.
“Being con_dent of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.” Philippians 1:6
Used with permission from Church Planting Helper, Dr. Townsley.