Lessons in Church Planting

It’s been a while since I posted anything, funny how life gets busy and crowds out certain things, like posting to a blog.

I started this blog to recount the process of planting a new church, among other ramblings and musings. My family and I started this process back in August or September 2012, we attended the church plant classes and seminars, core group meetings, get-togethers and cookouts, we participated in planning sessions and chatted around bonfires, discussed cores values, mission statements, and polity but once the sandals hit the pavement, the reality is some people are not cut out for gardening.

Gardening

So what, if anything, did I learn from my 8 month expedition into church planting? Here are a few things to contemplate if you are considering participating in a church plant:

1. Why are you considering participating in a church plant?
a. My current church environment has become stagnant and I’m looking for a change.
b. I always wanted to start my own church.
c. I feel burdened by God to invest my life into this specific new work.

2. Is your entire family fully onboard and are open to participating in the church plant?
a. I’m not sure but my family will follow where I lead.
b. They would rather attend elsewhere but will do as they are told.
c. We have all prayed together and individually and are in agreement this is what God wants from us at this time.

3. What is the polity of the new church plant?
a. I have no idea what a polity is, are you sure you didn’t misspell policy?
b. They are just starting and have no defined/established polity in place yet.
c. The leadership and top down organizational structure of the new church has been clearly defined and explained in detail.

4. What style of worship will be employed in the new church?
a. I’m not sure but assume it will be the same or similar to our mother church.
b. It doesn’t matter and is really irrelevant, no one attends a church because of the worship style.
c. The “style” has been discussed with the core group of planters and is a style that the majority believes will best aid them in their worship of the Lord.

5. What is your role in the new church plant?
a. I will help prepare the soil and plant the seed.
b. I will water.
c. I will tend the plants, pull weeds, and help with the harvest.

amish-farm

For me and my family, it has been a learning experience and a transition time.

1. I had gotten to a point where church was just a habit or routine, I was not getting much from it and was looking for a change, so why not participate in a church plant?

2. My wife was ok with participating, not sure if it was because she was just being an obedient wife or if she was really convinced this is what our family should be doing at this time, I think the later but obviously by my not knowing for sure, we should have had more communication.

3. My two youngest sons were a bit indifferent but my oldest was completely against it, he has a lot of friends in the youth group at our former church and not only were there no boys his age in the new plant(which we knew going in), as it turns out the polity of the new church had no provision for a youth leader or youth program.

4. Worship style matters. Churches have divided, denominations have divided over the style of worship. Should this be? Probably not. Is it possible for me to attend a Pentecostal, Anglican, Methodist, Church of God, Church of Christ, Baptist or other church and worship God with them? Yes it is and yes I have. Do I have a preference? Yes I do. It is important to know the planned style of worship, it  enables you to participate in the corporate worship service and enhances your worship experience. If the worship songs are all going to be country style ballads and your preference is Christian heavy metal then the Cowboy Church is probably not going to be your best choice as a home church.

5. Church planting is hard work. It is challenging and trying. Not everyone that starts the work will see it through to completion. Does it mean those that work for a few hours and then move on are not as Godly as those that worked the entire day? Dunno. Maybe. Or maybe the Lord will use their contributions but has another field he has planned to transition them to a little further down the road.

6. As with any good marriage, so it is with a church plant, communication is key to avoiding problems and pitfalls. Communicating with your family to ensure their needs are being met, communicating with church plant team members to ensure you are on the same page and have the same vision, and communicating with God through prayer to ensure you are in His will.

Ecclesiastes 3:

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
a time to tear, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace.

What gain has the worker from his toil? 10 I have seen the business that God has given to the children of man to be busy with. 11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end. 12 I perceived that there is nothing better for them than to be joyful and to do good as long as they live; 13 also that everyone should eat and drink and take pleasure in all his toil—this is God’s gift to man.

14 I perceived that whatever God does endures forever; nothing can be added to it, nor anything taken from it. God has done it, so that people fear before him. 15 That which is, already has been; that which is to be, already has been; and God seeks what has been driven away. (ESV)

Crossroads

So now what? You signed up to plant a new church and have come to the realization this is not what you thought it was going to be? You feel trapped. How long do you stay? Is there a graceful way to exit? Will there be hurt feelings or animosity? Will those that remain judge you and your family as infidels or will they bless you and wish you Godspeed on your journey through this life?

Hopefully they are friends and desire what is best for you and your family. Hopefully you can have a civil parting where you bless them and wish them well on their journey as they do to you and your family.

1 Peter 4:
The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers. Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. (ESV)

Godspeed brothers and sisters on your journey, may the Lord be pleased and honored with all you do!

Advertisements

Blackman Baptist Church

steeple

Hello Friends!

Last Sunday we held our first service as Blackman Baptist Church. We are meeting in the Blackman Community Club, located at  4310 Manson Pike Murfreesboro, TN. We had 35 adults and 26 children in attendance.

Pastor Kevin Wax brought us a message from Mark 5 – The Bad Man meets the God Man

A fellowship meal followed the service.

Please pray for us that we will seek and follow the Lord’s will for serving the people of the Blackman area of Murfreesboro.

The Purpose Of The Church

What is the purpose of the church? What is the church supposed to do? Is it supposed to do anything other than serve as a meeting place for Believers to gather for potluck fellowships on occasion?

Defining terms is always a helpful place to start. What is purpose? Purpose is the reason for which something exists, was made, or created;  an intended or desired result.

Let’s do some contrasting.

Q: What’s the purpose of a hammer?
A: To hit a nail

Q: What’s the purpose of a bat?
A: To hit a ball

In general, the purpose of a bat and a hammer are similar, to hit something but specifically they are not the same. You would not be a very effective baseball player using a hammer to hit a baseball or a very effective carpenter using a bat to drive nails.

If a church desires to be effective, it would be a good idea to know it’s purpose. So what is the purpose of the church, the reason for which it exists or was intended? Everyone you ask has thoughts concerning the church’s purpose but are those things based on Biblical examples and teaching?

What does the Bible have to say concerning the purpose of the church? What examples does it provide?

THE GREAT COMMISSION

Matthew 28:
16 Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. 17 And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted. 18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”(ESV)

Mark 16:
14 Afterward he appeared to the eleven themselves as they were reclining at table, and he rebuked them for their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they had not believed those who saw him after he had risen. 15 And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. 17 And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; 18 they will pick up serpents with their hands; and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.”(ESV)

PETER’S SERMON AT PENTECOST

Acts 2:
14 But Peter, standing with the eleven, lifted up his voice and addressed them:

22 “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know— 23 this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. 24 God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it.

37 Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” 38 And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.39 For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.” 40 And with many other words he bore witness and continued to exhort them, saying, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation.” 41 So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls.

42 And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. 43 And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. 44 And all who believed were together and had all things in common. 45 And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. 46 And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts,47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.(ESV)

If we examine the accounts of the Great Commission, Jesus’ last instructions to His disciples, and Peter’s sermon on the Day of Pentecost, what can we determine to be the main purposes of the church?

Proclaim The Gospel/Evangelize The Lost

Mark 16:15 And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.

Acts 2:38 And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Disciple Believers

Matthew 28:19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.

Acts 2:42 And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.

Baptism and The Lord’s Supper

Mark 16:16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.

Acts 2:41 So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls.

Acts 2:42 And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.

Worship and Praise

Matthew 28:16 Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. 17 And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted.

Acts 2:46 And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts,47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.

Fellowship

Mark 16:14 Afterward he appeared to the eleven themselves as they were reclining at table, and he rebuked them for their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they had not believed those who saw him after he had risen.

Acts 2:42 And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. 43 And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. 44 And all who believed were together and had all things in common. 45 And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. 46 And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts,47 praising God and having favor with all the people.

The main purposes and functions of the church are fairly apparent in scripture but the methods and means by which individual churches accomplish those purposes can be quite different. At the Basic Training for Church Planters conference we went to a few weeks back, there were several different churches represented whose mission fields were very different.

One of the primary purposes of the church is to Evangelize the Lost but how Roscoe Perry, (Pastor of New Vineyard Baptist Church in the heart of Memphis), goes about evangelism is going to be different from the way Luke Summey, (a 20-something year old skateboarder and pastor), goes about it at the Outcast Church near the campus of Tennessee Tech in Cookeville which in turn is going to be different from the way Frank Locke, (pastor at the Cowboy Church in Morrison, TN), pursues evangelism.

Mark 9:
38 John said to him, “Teacher, we saw someone casting out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him, because he was not following us.” 39 But Jesus said, “Do not stop him, for no one who does a mighty work in my name will be able soon afterward to speak evil of me. 40 For the one who is not against us is for us. 41 For truly, I say to you, whoever gives you a cup of water to drink because you belong to Christ will by no means lose his reward.(ESV)

Luke 10:
After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them on ahead of him, two by two, into every town and place where he himself was about to go. And he said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few.Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest. Go your way; behold, I am sending you out as lambs in the midst of wolves. Carry no moneybag, no knapsack, no sandals, and greet no one on the road. Whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace be to this house!’ And if a son of peace is there, your peace will rest upon him. But if not, it will return to you.(ESV)

                      

We are not all called to the same mission fields. Some are gathering grapes, some figs, some wheat, some olives so the methods we use to gather in the Lord’s harvest may be different but we are all called to the same purpose. Go and gather in the Lord’s harvest! Evangelize, Baptize, Disciple and Teach, Worship and Praise, Fellowship and do it all to the glory of the Lord.

~God Bless

The Church and The Christian

Someone at our Church Plant Basic Training seminar this week said that she had always been taught that to be a 5 star Christian you should:
1. Pray
2. Read the Bible
3. Attend church regularly
4. Tithe
5. Tell others

I don’t know that that is a complete list by any means but it gets me thinking, what should a Christian be doing? Does that list comprise the top 5 things a Christian should be doing? If not, what is at the top of the list?

Furthermore, what role does the church play in assisting the Christian in achieving God’s purpose? Conversely, to be a 5 star church, what should a church being doing to achieve God’s purpose?

HIS WORKMANSHIP

Ephesians 2:10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works,which God prepared in advance for us to do.(NIV)

God has planned ahead of time good works for each Christian. Does the church have a role in helping the Christian accomplish the tasks God has prepared for them?  I would think so.

ONE BODY MANY MEMBERS

1 Corinthians 12:
12 For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit.

14 For the body does not consist of one member but of many. 15 If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? 18 But as it is,God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. 19 If all were a single member, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, yet one body.

21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” 22 On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23 and on those parts of the body that we think less honorable we bestow the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty, 24 which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, 25 that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. 26 If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.

27 Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it28 And God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, helping, administrating, and various kinds of tongues. 29 Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? 30 Do all possess gifts of healing? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret? 31 But earnestly desire the higher gifts.

And I will show you a still more excellent way.(ESV)

Is God’s plan and purpose the same for each believer? No. Clearly, scripture says we have different functions according to God’s placement within the body. The Church is to function as one body serving Christ here on Earth, each Christian is to serve their purpose within the body. 

It is actually a bit confusing trying to determine the separation of roles, duties and functions between the believer and the church. I guess that’s why it is a mystery:

Ephesians 5:
25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— 30 for we are members of his body.31 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” 32 This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church.(NIV)

So Jesus’ desire is for His church to be radiant, holy, and blameless. Jesus cares for His church and gave Himself for her. What are you doing for the church?

In determining how the church should be functioning today, it would be good to know how the early Christian Church functioned.

EARLY CHURCH GROWTH

Acts 2:
36 Let all the house of Israel therefore know assuredly, that God hath made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom ye crucified.
37 Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and the rest of the apostles, Brethren, what shall we do?
38 And Peter said unto them, Repent ye, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ unto the remission of your sins; and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
39 For to you is the promise, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call unto him.
40 And with many other words he testified, and exhorted them, saying, Save yourselves from this crooked generation.
41 They then that received his word were baptized: and there were added unto them in that day about three thousand souls.
42 And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, in the breaking of bread and the prayers.
43 And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles.
44 And all that believed were together, and had all things common;
45 and they sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all, according as any man had need.
46 And day by day, continuing stedfastly with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread at home, they took their food with gladness and singleness of heart,
47 praising God, and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to them day by day those that were saved.(ASV)

Here in Acts we see the early church in action.

We see the Great Commission put into practice through the Proclamation of the Gospel, we see Obedience in Baptism and Observance of the Lord’s Supper.

We see believers participating in Faith, Repentance, Prayer, Praise, Stewardship, Church Attendance, Fellowship, Community, Teaching, and Discipleship.

CHURCH AT ANTIOCH

Acts 11:
21 And the hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number who believed turned to the Lord.
22 The report of this came to the ears of the church in Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch.
23 When he came and saw the grace of God, he was glad, and he exhorted them all to remain faithful to the Lord with steadfast purpose,
24 for he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith. And a great many people were added to the Lord.
25 So Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul,
26 and when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. For a whole year they met with the church and taught a great many people. And in Antioch the disciples were first called Christians.(ESV)

If you had to come up with your top 5 of essential duties for the Christian and top 5 crucial functions of the Church, what would they be?

~God Bless

Requirements For Church Membership?

Mr. Smith, we appreciate your interest in joining our church. You just need to fill out our five page membership application and if we’re interested, someone will call you back within a week or so to schedule your interview.

Interesting. Should there be requirements to join a church? If so, what should they be? Did Jesus have any requirements for being a part of his original “church” plant? He just seemed to randomly pick people as He walked along to be part of His group.

Jesus: Hey, you two there, messing with the fishing nets, follow me!

Peter & Andrew: ok (Mark 1:17)

Jesus: Hey, you there, collecting taxes, follow me!

Matthew: ok (Matthew 9:9)

Jesus: Hey, you there, sitting under the fig tree, follow me!

Nathanael: aight (John 1:48)

Did Jesus have rules or requirements for His followers?

Matthew 7:
21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’(ESV)

Luke 9:
23 Then Jesus said to all the people:
If any of you want to be my followers, you must forget about yourself. You must take up your cross each day and follow me. 24 If you want to save your life, you will destroy it. But if you give up your life for me, you will save it.(CEV)

John 3:
This man came to Jesus by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God, for no one can do these signs that you do unless God is with him.”Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”(ESV)

John 13:
Jesus answered, “You don’t really know what I am doing, but later you will understand.”“You will never wash my feet!” Peter replied.“If I don’t wash you,”Jesus told him, “you don’t really belong to me.”Peter said, “Lord, don’t wash just my feet. Wash my hands and my head.”

34 But I am giving you a new command. You must love each other, just as I have loved you. 35 If you love each other, everyone will know that you are my disciples.(CEV)

Yes, Jesus did appear to have standards for discipleship. So logically one would have to think it reasonable that there should be some rules or requirements for being a member of His earthly church today. What should the requirements be for being a member of a local church fellowship?

Amos 3: 3Can two walk together, unless they are agreed?(NKJV)

As a church, we need to hold to the same common beliefs and if your church aligns itself with a particular denomination, it would be wise to review the corresponding beliefs to ensure you are in agreement. So a good starting point for church membership would be to require all members to acknowledge agreement to a  belief statement of some sort.

So the next question immediately becomes, what things should be included on the belief statement? Since we are talking about a Christian church, the most important thing to agree upon is Jesus. Who is Jesus? What was His purpose? What did He do? Did He accomplish His goals? Where is He today? Is He coming back? What does He require of me?

Matthew 16:
15 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” 16 Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 17 And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.(ESV)

John 6:
67 So Jesus said to the Twelve, “Do you want to go away as well?” 68 Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life,69 and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.”(ESV)

John 14:
“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.

John 20:
27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.” 28 Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” 29 Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”(ESV)

The most important thing to agree upon the person of Jesus Christ,  who He is – the only begotten Son of God, the circumstances surrounding His birth – born of a virgin, life – perfect and sinless, death – crucified as an atoning sacrifice to God the Father, and resurrection – rose from the grave after three days just as He foretold, and desire believers baptism (or already have been baptized).

Early Church in Acts

Acts 2:

40 And with many other words he testified and exhorted them, saying, “Be saved from this perverse generation.” 41 Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them. 42 And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers. 43 Then fear came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles. 44 Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, 45 and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need.

46 So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart,47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.(NKJV)

Phillip and the Ethiopian Eunuch

Acts 8:

34 So the eunuch answered Philip and said, “I ask you, of whom does the prophet say this, of himself or of some other man?” 35 Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning at this Scripture, preached Jesus to him. 36 Now as they went down the road, they came to some water. And the eunuch said, “See, here is water. What hinders me from being baptized?”

37 Then Philip said, “If you believe with all your heart, you may.”

And he answered and said, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.”

38 So he commanded the chariot to stand still. And both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water, and he baptized him. 39 Now when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught Philip away, so that the eunuch saw him no more; and he went on his way rejoicing.(NKJV)

In addition to believing upon the person of Jesus, it is necessary to agree upon scripture. After all the majority of the revelation we have of Jesus comes from the Bible. Is it the perfect, inerrant Word of God or some man-made fairy tale? In order to maintain harmony and effectively preach the Gospel agreement on the Holy Scriptures is essential.

Members are ALL going to need to agree on some basic foundational truths. I’m not sure how the various denominations declare or define their beliefs but the Southern Baptists have a document called The Baptist Faith and Message which articulates the Baptist’s commonly held beliefs concerning the Christian faith. Things discussed include Scripture, God, Man, Salvation, The Church, Baptism, The Family, etc.

Primary Importance (Are You Praying?)

When preparing to think about considering the possibility of maybe planting a new church, what is of primary importance? What is the one thing that must be done first? What is more important than anything else? What is it that cannot be neglected, over-looked, taken for granted, ignored, or disregarded? What is the one thing that is critical to the success of any new church plant?

It’s one of the simplest things to do yet at the same time is one of the hardest things in which to be disciplined because we get entangled by the cares of this world. It’s the thing that takes you into the throne room of God, enabling you to access His power. It is the thing that every great man of God has done throughout history. Adam did it, as well as, Noah, Moses, Abraham, David and Paul among many others. The disciples even asked Jesus to teach them how to do it. It’s the one thing of primary importance that Jesus modeled, taught, practiced and instructed His disciples to do. In a single word – PRAYER!

Mark 1:35 Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.(NIV)

Luke 22:46 “Why are you sleeping?” he asked them. “Get up and pray so that you will not fall into temptation.”(NIV)

Romans 12:Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. 11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer13 Share with the Lord’s people who are in need.Practice hospitality.(NIV)

Acts 6:Now in these days when the disciples were increasing in number, a complaint by the Hellenists arose against the Hebrews because their widows were being neglected in the daily distribution. And the twelve summoned the full number of the disciples and said, “It is not right that we should give up preaching the word of God to serve tables. Therefore, brothers, pick out from among you seven men of good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we will appoint to this duty.But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.”(ESV)

1 Thessalonians 5:14 And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all. 15 See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone. 16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.(ESV)

Paul’s prayer for the Ephesian church:

Ephesians 3:14 I kneel in prayer to the Father. 15 All beings in heaven and on earth receive their life from him. 16 God is wonderful and glorious. I pray that his Spirit will make you become strong followers 17 and that Christ will live in your hearts because of your faith. Stand firm and be deeply rooted in his love. 18 I pray that you and all of God’s people will understand what is called wide or long or high or deep. 19 I want you to know all about Christ’s love, although it is too wonderful to be measured. Then your lives will be filled with all that God is.20-21 I pray that Christ Jesus and the church will forever bring praise to God. His power at work in us can do far more than we dare ask or imagine. Amen.(CEV)

Paul’s prayer for the Ephesian church would be a good prayer for any church of any age. Paul prayed that:

  • God’s Spirit will make you become strong followers
  • Christ will live in your hearts because of your faith
  • you stand firm and be deeply rooted in his love
  • you and all of God’s people will understand what is called wide or long or high or deep
  • you know all about Christ’s love, although it is too wonderful to be measured
  • your lives will be filled with all that God is
  • Christ Jesus and the church will forever bring praise to God

How’s you prayer life? Is prayer of primary importance?