“And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” Matthew 16:18
When I read this verse I there are so many critical truths to remember as we go forward with planting Central Church.
· The Founder of the Church: Jesus said that the body is “my church.” So often we use words that can misrepresent matters. When church members invite people to come to worship, many times they say with good intentions; “We would love for you to come to our church.” Pastors at times discuss churches in the association and you will hear them say of a certain brother, “His church is really awesome. It’s grown under his leadership!” During this process of planting Central, I have lost track of how often I am asked something like, “Where is your church going to be?” or “When you open your new church, I want to come.”
We understand that all of those statements are normally not intended to reflect an inappropriate mindset or erroneous belief about the church. Yet, we must guard ourselves from the enemy! He is crafty and with subtly will attempt to sway our people and even pastors from having the right attitude. The Head of the Church is Christ! It is HIS CHURCH. Central isn’t “my church”. It is HIS! I like to say, “Central is a place where His Word is Taught, His Will is Sought, and His Wishes Wrought, because it’s His church not mine!”
· The Formation of the Church: Jesus stated “I will build my church”! Over the last few months you have heard and read about the different strategies that we are using as we plant Central. “OIKOS” strategy is great and it works. Using social media is a natural tool to tap into today. Any Pastor who doesn’t see the potential impact in using its technology is missing out. Some plants like Central have looked at the demographics of their area and have determined who they are targeting and what style of ministry that demographic would probably respond to. Should we use all of these and more that are available to us in church planting? YES! Do those strategies guarantee that a healthy New Testament church will be formed? NO!
Bottom line: Only Christ can build his church. Philippians 2:13 says “For it is God who works in you, both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” It is only the power of the Spirit of God that strives with the hearts of men, not our plans. It is not our strategies, it is His Spirit! It is not our connection events that draw them, it’s His conviction upon their hearts! It is not the pastor’s personality strengths that make it work, it’s his personal surrender to pray and walking with the Head of the church that is the key. No scheme of man will ever build a church. If it is built by the schemes of man and succeeds, there will not be a spiritual church, there will be a social club.
· The Future of the Church: Jesus said, “The gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” The whole statement implies that the enemy will have a strategy of his own! Church planting isn’t for sissies! The attacks of the wicked one require a man to be on his knees, stay in the Word, keep spiritually minded men around him, and constantly keep his eye on the calling and purpose God has given him. The Devil will be faithful to attack and seek to destroy. I am so glad that “greater is He that is in me than he that is in the world!” Church planters will have our lumps and bumps, even hard falls and unexpected turns in the journey, but ultimately, in God’s providential ways, He will incorporate it all into His plan in establishing the church!
Please keep praying for Central…
TIME TO TOIL…
Colossians 1: 28, 29