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Church Planting: Just Another Ministry Opportunity? | Part 2 Humble Reflection

Blog: Church Planting Part 2

Part 2: Humble Reflection

The Apostle Paul writes, “For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another. Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them” (Romans 12:3-6, emphasis mine).

Though we don’t find entrepreneurial aptitude listed as a specific spiritual gift in Romans 12, I think it’s fair to say, based on what Paul writes there, is that the ability to start and lead things is a gift of God’s grace.

Therefore, you should remember that if this specific type of leadership is a gift of God, you shouldn’t consider yourself less of a person (or Christian) if you don’t (now) have the gifts required to serve as a church planter. Serve as God has gifted you. Let him decide what type of service is “holy and acceptable” to him (Romans 12:1). Instead of being frustrated with what you don’t have, serve with what he’s given you.

At the same time, if God has graced you with this specific type of leadership, consider Paul’s words to the haughty (but skilled) Corinthian church: “What did you have that you did not receive? If then you received it, why do you boast as if you did not receive it?” (1 Corinthians 4:7). I can’t think of much that will make a leader utterly useless to Christ’s Church than unchecked pride, for “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6).

Serve as God has gifted you. If it’s as a church planter, then plant a church. If it’s in another way, then joyfully serve that way. Church planters are important to Christ’s Church. But so is every other member of the body of Christ. In fact, “the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable,” not the parts that seem stronger and more presentable (1 Corinthians 12:22-24, emphasis mine).

There is a danger when talking about leadership opportunities in the church—especially when talking about planting a church. Church planters start something from nothing. They are the pioneers, and they have the wounds to prove it. Though they might not say so publically, there is a rush when you see people coming to and being changed in the context of what you privately call “your church.” 

It’s a danger that Peter addressed in 1 Peter 5:2-3 when he encouraged elders to “shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock.”

Church planters are to serve Jesus’ church willingly, eagerly, and as examples. That means they must not view their position as simply a place to define or prove themselves. Instead, they must believe they are called (willing and eager) and they must believe they are qualified (examples). If these things are not the case, there is a chance they could serve under compulsion (to meet their or another’s expectations), for shameful gain (to gain things like power, fame, or fortune), or be domineering in their service (usually a sign of fear or pride).

A good way to fight against this danger is to realize that everything you have is a gift from God himself (1 Corinthians 4:7), believe that God gifts as he best sees fit (Romans 12:3-6), and recognize that you are serving in the church—the very thing Jesus shed his blood to claim as his own (Acts 20:28, Titus 2:14)

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Elliot Grudem is the network coordinator for the Acts 29 Network and a pastor at Mars Hill Church. Prior to his work with Acts 29, Elliot served as the senior minister at Christ the King Presbyterian Church, a church he replanted in Raleigh, NC. He has worked for an urban ministry in New Orleans. He worked for a Fortune 100 company prior to seminary. He is the editor of Christian Beliefs, a book he completed with his father Wayne. Elliot holds degrees from Miami Univeristy (BA, History and English) and Reformed Theological Seminary (M.Div.).