I was hit with a reality last Sunday, approximately 12:45 PM in the right side of the middle row in River of Life Foursquare Church.
I’ve been reading a lot of books this summer–some fiction, some non-fiction, and the non-fiction ones have dealt with some relating themes. The Next Christians by Gabe Lyons talked about engaging your culture, as this is what a new generation of Christians is seeking to do. The Strategically Small Church talks about optimizing your church’s size and gifts so that your church can serve the community effectively. The Other Side of Pastoral Ministry, which I haven’t yet finished, deals with a river mentality about church as opposed to a lake mentality–Dr. Daniel Brown mentions that a question more important than “how many people showed up?” is the question: “what happened to the people who were there?” In other words, church is about growth and transformation.
In that moment at approximately 12:45 PM in the second row, right side of the middle section of chairs, God reminded me of all I’d been reading, and said to me that church planting is a lot more than meeting new people, getting together and having your heartwarming church service in your house. While that’s fun and exciting and heartwarming, there’s a lot more to church planting than gathering, namely growing.
Why, after all, if church were just about getting together, would it be called a church plant? why not just a church opening, or a church placing? No, church is about growth.
I was reminded today about when Jesus was talking to Peter in John 21. He keeps asking Peter: “do you love Me?” and Peter keeps saying yes, and Jesus keeps saying, “feed My lambs. take care of My sheep. feed My sheep.”
Jesus was calling Peter to a deeper action than just being with the sheep. He didn’t ask Peter to just stand in the field with the sheep. He called him to more than that: care and feeding. He put Peter in a position of responsibility for the growth of His sheep.
That’s been hitting me this week. In my places of leadership, how am I tending the flock? How am I feeding others–God’s sheep–which He’s entrusted to me? How can I be more proactive about it?
Also, it’s a good reminder for the future. A reminder that, as I earlier said, church is about more than just getting together. it’s about investing in people to see them invest in others to see them invest in others, so on and so forth, to ultimately bring people to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.