What significance should God’s “end game” plan for human history have in the DNA of a newly planted or already existing local church? Pastor Jeff Jackson asks some thought-provoking questions on this important subject.
A while back, a friend challenged me to write down a few questions that might be helpful for a church planter to consider prior to actually attempting to start a church.
He knew that I had come to some strong convictions about not just church planting, but also about what the indicators were that any local church was truly “healthy”.
He specifically asked me to do this because he knows that I usually have an out-of-the-box view on most things.
He also knows how quirky I am and that some of my quirkiness in the realm of missions, church planting, the significance of local churches in God’s plan, and so forth, comes from my having had the privilege of planting a church in another country and then a church here in the U.S.
I decided to respond to his request for questions by moving forward from the following foundational question:
For either a new church, or an existing church to be biblically “healthy”, what is at least one essential component that must be a part of its DNA?
Based on my understanding of God’s Word, my experience in ministry and missions, and the convictions those things have produced in me, these are the questions that I believe every church planter and pastor of an existing church should ponder:
- Does God’s Word give us a glimpse of where the future history of mankind is headed?
- If so, does Rev. 5:9, 7:9, 21:24-22:2 give us a picture of what a portion of mankind will be doing in the future?
- Based on what the God of the bible has revealed about Himself at previous points in the past: (see Gen 12:3, 26:3, 28:14, Psalm 86:8-10, 96:3, 2 Chron 6:32, Isa 42:1-7, 49:5,6, Luke 2:10,14, Matt 8:11-13, 28:18-20, and Acts 1:8, along with dozens of other verses), should we be surprised by what is described in the verses from Revelation that I have included in question number 2 above?
- Would we be wrong to therefore conclude that moving things towards that future reality may be one of God’s highest priorities?
- If so, then shouldn’t it be one of our highest priorities too?
- Did Jesus ever intentionally challenge His naturally SELF-focused followers to view things from the perspective of the bigger work that God is going to do? (Luke 10:2 John 4:35)
- Does it take any effort on the part of a church leader to convince the members of his church to be concerned about themselves or the people in their inner circle of family and friends?
- At what point did Jesus introduce His first followers to the idea that their following Him and the resultant meaningful relationship with Him was for God’s larger purposes and interests and the good of others, not their own? (Matt 4:19)
- Did Paul see any value in helping a local church to understand that what he was called to and what God has done in and for them is a part of something larger that He is doing globally? (Rom 1:5 Col 1:6)
Based on these questions and the fairly obvious answers to them, it’s clear to me that God’s global purposes and His “end game” must be a crucial component of the DNA from which every local church springs forth.
Infusing these truths into the DNA of every new church beginning at the first gathering of people that will become a church will go a long way towards that church growing in a healthy manner.