Why would anyone want to plant a new church in these last days? I mean, there is a church practically on every corner...right? Everywhere you turn...there is another church. You'll find denominational churches and/or nondenominational churches. Add to that interdenominational churches where folks from "all" denominations are welcomed. You'll even find denominational churches that pose as nondenominational churches as they don't reveal the name of the denomination in the name of the church!
There are Pentecostal churches, Charismatic churches, Spirit-filled churches, traditional churches, seeker-friendly churches and more. So why would anyone want to start a church in America in these latest of the last days?
The numero uno reason of course, would be that God simply said to do it. God knows the needs of folks, beginning with the need for salvation. I believe God would lead to start a new church because many of today's churches are not effective for His kingdom.
Tradition alone is a powerful enemy of the church rendering her ineffective, simply because folks follow it (tradition) more than they follow God's Spirit. They "way things have always been done" seems to have a higher priority than the Holy Spirit's leading for today. Things change. Needs change. Cultures change. No one knows more than the Holy Spirit how to address all the changes. A good example would be a military in today's time attempting to fight a war with 100 year old weapons technology. It won't work!
If I were to be instrumental in planting a church today this is what it would look like. First, it would not be traditional. Why? You can go down the street one block and find at least 3 churches operating in a traditional manner. (You know, the way it has always been done.)
When I say it would not be a traditional church I mean several things. For instance, the church building would not be central to all the activity of the church. Yes, there would be a command post for gathering at least once weekly to learn, train, and celebrate all the ministry done by the church "out there" between meetings. However the focus would be less on one meeting and gathering place, and more on reaching people, outside the walls. The emphasis then would not be on how ornate and elaborate the building could be made or how many polished programs could be in place. With a much lower overhead, the investment of funds (you know, money) would be in people, not the building and all its programs.
With a more outward than inward focus, there would be a need for small group meetings. Small group meetings are not a new concept. As a matter of fact, the church actually began with small group meetings. The difference would be that small groups would promote the building of relationships with people, and sharing the gospel of the kingdom of God outside the church. The emphasis of the small groups would be more on "Go" than "Y'all come".
Next, this new church plant would be nondenominational. No offense to my denominational friends, but planting a nondenominational church at least offers a beginning without the crippling effect of tradition. From that point forward church folks would have to be diligent to stand against the temptation to yield to tradition. There will always be a war against that. Let me emphasize again that this church plant would be nondenominational and non-traditional. I would be most adamant about that.
Moving on, this new church plant would be a Spirit-filled church. A Spirit-filled church is made up of folks who are filled with God's Holy Spirit according to Acts Chapter 2. It is not that people who are not baptized in the Holy Spirit would not be welcomed. They would just need to understand it is a Spirit-filled church and be open to Holy Spirit baptism. All of the manifestations of the Spirit mentioned in 1 Corinthians 12 (and more) would be most welcomed. What the world needs now (in addition to love sweet love) is the supernatural manifestation of the Spirit of God....through the church. I love Paul's statement in 1 Corinthians 2: 4-5, "And my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God." You can get persuasive words of human wisdom anywhere, but then that's where your faith will be founded, on human wisdom. But where there is a demonstration of the Holy Spirit and power, one's faith will be founded on the power of God. That's the difference! So this new church plant would be a Spirit-filled church, made up of people who are baptized in the Holy Spirit. (See Acts 2.)
Next, this new church plant would have a heart for the nations of the world. Why? Because Jesus did. He said, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation." (Mark 16: 15) Jesus also said, "This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end shall come." (Matt. 24: 14)
This new church plant would not be a place for personal agenda. God's agenda would take the highest priority. To be a part of this last days work one might just have to lay down their personal agenda. Having been a pastor for many years I've seen it over and over again. A person comes to a church. They're excited about all God is doing. They want to get involved in ministry. But inside they actually want to use this church to promote their personal agenda. They see a particular church as a potential place to do just that. But when circumstances and the flow of the church do not allow this, they eventually pack up their agenda and move on to the next church. They are always looking for a place which seems to offer opportunities to promote their personal agenda. This new church plant would be a place through which to promote only God's agenda. And I would be most adamant about that too.
And finally this new church plant would be about encouraging followers of Christ to follower hard after Him in these last days. Time is short and there is no time for traditional, agenda promoting games. I also believe that these last days will be the most glorious for the church. We must realize that, examine our hearts before Him, and commit to making what ever changes are necessary (including repentance) to move forward in His awesome plan in these last days. Yes, that's what I would do. Pray for God to raise up churches like this in these last days. The world needs them!
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