5 Reasons You Should Never Join a Church Plant
As we’re now five months into our church planting endeavour, we’re starting to better understand the warnings of church planters who’ve gone before us. “Church planting will be the hardest thing you’ll ever do” they said, and I think only now we're beginning to experience what they meant. As we’re currently seeking to add more committed disciples to our core group, we’re finding out more and more that very few Christians are actually attracted and convinced enough to join a church plant. As I’ve examined our course and pondered on my pillow why people aren’t leaping at the chance to be a part of such an awesome gospel opportunity, I think I’ve boiled down five main reasons why most people would never join a church plant.
1. It Requires too Much Faith
Joining a church plant means banking everything on Jesus’ promise to build his church. He said, “I will build my church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18), but do we really believe him enough to join him as he plants a new church? It definitely takes a lot of faith to commit to a church plant, but the Bible knows of no church that ever began apart from oodles of faith. Sometimes deep in the trenches of church planting things may seem to stall out, and you may even wonder what God is or isn’t doing. I know I'm tempted to think this way at times, but the solution to fight this fear is faith, which is to hold fast to the One who knows the beginning from the end. As faith is a gift, God is faithful to give us the faith we need and trust that he will complete what he has started. If you really want to test your faith, come join a church plant.
2. It Requires too Much Sacrifice
Would you or others around you describe your dedication to the church as one of sacrifice? Think about it, do you approach the church more for what you can get or what you can give? Ouch! As Jesus called his disciples, of which you are one, he proclaimed that true discipleship may cost you everything you have (Luke 9:57-62). From livelihood, to family, to obligations and ultimately even your life, the call of the gospel is sacrificial. In so many words my former pastor would put it this way, “Are you a servant or a pew-potato?” teaching us that the mission of Christ needs sacrificial servants rather than passive consumers. Ouch again! To join a church plant means you'll most definitely have to give up some of the bells and whistles for at least a season. Are you willing to temporarily give up some of the comforts afforded by an established church for the sake of the mission of Christ? Will you sacrifice for Christ who sacrificed himself for you?
3. It Requires too Much Work
Church planting requires plenty of work! One of the main issues stifling church multiplication today is the increasing professionalization of church ministry. We often seclude the work of the church to those who have received seminary degrees or hold full-time positions. The main problem with this is that the Bible teaches the very opposite. Yes there are those who are spiritually qualified to teach and lead, but the work of the church is a “body-work” of ordinary redeemed individuals who are all indispensable ministers of the gospel, “for the body does not consist of one member but of many” (1 Cor 12:14). At Harvest, we believe a quality disciple is one who worships, walks and works for Christ. Where are you working for Christ right now? Perhaps God has called you to work and witness the birth of a new church right in front of your eyes? Planting a church is an exhausting but glorious work, will you roll up your sleeves and join the heavy lifting?
4. It Requires too Much Obedience
When you read the command of Christ in Matthew 28:18-20 to “Go and make disciples”, do you merely give mental ascent to the idea, or gratefully commit to obediently join your Master on his mission? “If you were to take some time and study the Great Commission in Matthew 28, you would see that making, baptizing & teaching disciples always happens within the context of the local church. Therefore, every church must obediently pursue the mission of Christ placing church planting at the very center. We put it this way, “The mission of the church is missions, and the mission of missions is the church”. Remember that the church you attend right now was born out of obedience, are you willing to obey by committing, supporting, and praying for the planting of the local church? Church planting requires much obedience.
5. It Requires too Much of My Self
Jesus said, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me” (Luke 9:23). Sadly, today many professing Christians live lives of isolation void of true self-sacrifice that can only take place in authentic gospel community. Church planting offers an awesome opportunity to tangibly experience close-knit community where humility and self-denial are richly cultivated. Joining a church plant will expedite Christ-like formation in God’s people as they are compelled to “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves” (Phil 2:3). Will you consider the 1 million plus unbelievers in Calgary as more significant than yourself? Will you deny yourself, pick up your cross and follow Christ as he builds his church?
You Should Join a Church Plant
Now there are many more factors and nuances that may come into play regarding the unattractiveness of joining a church plant and please hear me, I totally get it. Six years ago, my family and I had our first opportunity to become involved in a local church plant and initially we weren't to hot on the matter. We thought it sounded like way too much work, time and energy. We didn't quite get it yet, but ultimately God changed our hearts and we were compelled to join because of the conviction and urgency of the gospel. Six years later who would of thought that we would be smack dab in the middle of planting our own church!
Now nobody is saying church planting is easy, it truly is the hardest thing we've ever done, but God is good and faithfully supplies all our needs. Church planting requires all you have and all you have is Christ. This Christ is building His church that not even the gates of hell can thwart so take courage and join what you've been created for.
If anything let this blog entry push you to give yourself more to the church where God has you, but always keep church planting at the centre of your focus when it comes to the mission of Christ. Will you join Christ as He builds His church? Will you consider joining our church plant?
We are looking for committed, compelled, contagious and courageous church planters to join our core group in South Calgary. Give me a ring if you want to find out more.
Quentin Whitford 587-999-4175