Feb
3

Plant the Church that Is, not the Church to Come

written by JD

Hasty expectations hinder the birth and multiplication of churches.

Plant your churches, just make sure they have all of this stuff, and these structures, and these activities, and these twenty-five marks, and these forty-one purposes, and this affiliation, and give that amount of money.

Such is okay when we start instant churches with long-term, Kingdom citizens.

They have years of sanctification.  They have a long history of church cultural expectations.  We should expect much from such churches, for much has been given to them.

But planting instant churches is to be the exception to our strategies, right?  There is a place for it. However, we should permit it as the exception, not the expectation.  It is not a regulative paradigm in the New Testament.  The gravity of the biblical evidence is that churches are to be birthed from the harvest fields.  Biblical church planting is evangelism that results in new churches, not the shifting of sheep in the Kingdom.

Such theology is important, for it keeps us from having unrealistic expectations for churches planted with new believers.  These churches just started the sanctification process.

Don’t expect them to manifest a maturation level as a church that is ten, twenty, or fifty years old.

Don’t strap them with things our Father expects for them to grow into overtime.

Don’t hinder the babes by telling them they must be running immediately; they just started crawling.

Are they a regenerate, baptized group who self-identify as a local expression of the Body of Christ? Have they covenanted before the Lord and one another to live out the Kingdom Ethic (found in the Word) in relation to God, each other, and the world–not fully understanding what all that means, but because Jesus expects it then they are willing do it?

If so, then you have planted a church that is poised for the multiplication of disciples, leaders, and other churches.  You have planted the church that is.

For now, teach them the Word and how to study and apply the Word in private and in community.  The Spirit and the Word will sanctify them.  All of those marks, purposes, manifestations, and expectations will come as they are built up in Christ (Col 2:6-7; 1 Pet 2:1-5).  That is the church to come.

(Image Credit: Microsoft Office)

9 Responses to “Plant the Church that Is, not the Church to Come”

  1. Grateful for this post JD. This is one of the biggest issues I have with what church planting has “digressed” into – especially in the North American context. I’m grateful for your commitment to biblical/reproducible models for church planting!

  2. Chris Chesley

    Thank you so much for your words and observations. This was very beneficial for me to read, as a new church planter. I want God to work in me and our team in this way, to build Chrust’s church the way He wants it to be. Your prayers for us are appreciated! Our church is LifePoint Church and we are in Beckley, WV. Thanks again, God bless!

  3. I second Dr. Robinson. Sounds like what we talked about during our seminar a few weeks ago, doesn’t it?

  4. Terrell

    This post has changed my life. Thank you.

  5. JD

    You are welcome, Terrell.

  6. JD

    My prayers are with you my brother.

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