As the father of 4 boys these words have crossed my lips a few times. As a church planter I ask the same question, only in the latter scenario I’m not looking to hand out discipline but a pat on the back. Everything that is, was started at some point. God started our universe in motion. Every house and business and relationship and church had it’s beginning at some point.
So, when it comes to your church, “who started it?” I invite you to look back to the beginnings of your church. Answer who, when, how, and why did someone start your church? Then ask if it is God’s will that your church was started as a terminal act, to serve a particular need for a particular season and then dissolve some day. Or is it God’s will that your church would represent one generation of a multi-generational master plan.
One of my favorite passages in the OT is Ezra 1. As I look at the restoration prophecies of Isaiah and Jeremiah and at the beginning of their fulfillment in Ezra 1, I keep running across the words, “stir up.” This comes from a Hebrew word that fascinates me. It means to awaken, to make aware, to incite. We get the idea that the grand ideas that pop into our minds are sometimes directly from God...and that goes for pagan kings as well.
It’s those “aha” moments when the light bulb comes on suddenly and unexpectedly. Some people call them epiphanies. It’s that moment when we wake up in the morning and suddenly realize a loved one is sitting on the edge of our bed looking at us. It’s the answer to a long-held question that suddenly is revealed or an insight into a familiar passage of Scripture that you had never seen before. It’s driving home on mental cruise control and suddenly remembering you were supposed to stop at the store for milk.
In Ezra 1 God’s stirring awakened a King to the need to rebuild His temple. Then, by virtue of his decree, God stirred up the Jews to go and some to give financially to the work of the re-build. Similarly, my prayer is that God will give to our churches an epiphany, “seeing” the need to plant more churches and satellite campuses. We know that new churches often struggle to achieve consistency, stability, and sustainability. However, we also know that when launched properly there is not a more effective tool for reaching and incorporating non-Christians and un-churched Christians for Christ.
There is a risk element to reproducing your church in a church plant or satellite campus, because there is no guarantee that it will work out as planned. However, there are assessment tools, and partnerships, and prayer, and coaching, and other resources that all together increase the odds of success, and all are available through our associational relationships to any whom the Lord stirs up.
One vital resource we offer is our annual “Multiply Conference” which was created to assess and train potential church planters.
Attendance at this event doesn’t obligate trainees to plant a church, but it can help to stir them and confirm in them if church planting is the direction God is leading.
Please call me (602-820-0700) if you know an entrepreneurial young leader whom you want to sponsor for this training (May 29-31 in Goodyear AZ.)