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Puritan Porn & Church Planting Fever, part 3

Puritan Porn & Church Planting Fever, Part 3

by Pastor Scott Thomas, Acts 29 Director

 

I received an email from an unmarried young man under the age of 22 wishing to plant a church. In an attempt to address a whole crowd of young men with "church planting fever," I wrote a letter back to him with 10 suggestions. In this post are suggestions #6-10.

 

Previous suggestions are here & here.

 

6. Be patient. The Apostle Paul was sent to the Arabian Desert for three years before preaching (probably around 33 years old). Jesus waited until he was 30 years old to start his public ministry. Abraham waited. Jacob waited. Joseph waited. Noah waited. Daniel waited. Isaiah waited. Young men hate to wait. They are ready to charge Hell with a squirt gun. Abraham Lincoln said, “I will get ready and then, perhaps my chance will come.” Do everything you can to get ready to plant a church. Study, pray, obey, find a mentor, engage in a servant ministry, share your faith humbly, connect missionally with unbelievers, minister to children who are fatherless, serve widows in their affliction, and keep yourself unspotted from the world. Then wait for the Holy Spirit to lead you.


7. Start a missional community in your home. Live the gospel together, pray together, serve the neighborhood together, share your faith together, learn the Bible together, be on mission together, and replicate other groups from your smaller community. If you can’t start and sustain a smaller community of faith, you will never have a biblical template for a church plant.


8. Read other authors. Don’t limit your intake to a few popular speakers and authors. Read from and listen to pastors from multiple theological backgrounds.


9. Research church planting. Know what it entails and count the cost before you start building (Luke 14). Consider doing a one or two year internship with a church planting training center.

 

10. Get a job, secure a place to live, get married, have children, practice the gospel in your own home, and then plant a church. Being married is not a biblical requirement for a pastor or church planter, but it is advised.

 

You may not understand now, but I believe you will be best served if you at least considered these thoughts from a pastor who has ministered full-time for 27 years. 

 

In the love of the gospel,

 

Scott


Full Letter found here in pdf
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How do I know if I am called to plant a church?  Seattle Boot Camp - March 9-10, 2009

4 Comments

Steve Hart

on Jan 22, 2009 :: 11:04 am

number 7 is so key - so many guys want to plant a church but have no idea how to make disciples, and unfortunately in America those 2 things aren't necessarily connected. and worse - the guys starting churches aren't the kind of disciple that they think they want to make. just because you have a vision doesn't mean you are actually doing it.

Joseph Louthan

on Jan 22, 2009 :: 11:19 am

I sincerely hope that this young man and every other young man reads these 10 suggestions and put them to heart. I was once in their shoes and itching to go a sound of the gun. But God, in his everlasting love and mercy, granted me just enough wisdom for me to settle down and be still and let the Teacher equip me to do His will.

I look over the last two years and I am so gracious and humbled for the amount of time and energy He has pour into my life. He knew the desires of my heart but I waited on Him and He guides my steps and endless opportunities have opened before me.

Romans 5:1-5

Jeff Vanderstelt

on Jan 23, 2009 :: 1:36 pm

Scott - thanks for sharing this both to this young man and to those reading the site. I wholeheartedly say AMEN!

I want to encourage those who are thinking about planting AND those who have planted...
Please - First live out what you believe the church you lead should live out. I'm amazed at how many pastors call their people to do for them what them will not do themselves (i.e. exercise hospitality with strangers, share the gospel with neighbors, have non-Christian friends, serve in the community, etc...). I also amazed at how many pastors call the people they shepherd to start missional communities to reach their community, but can't lead one or won't lead one themselves. So, lead with your life and example first before planting or leading a church to do something you haven't done (Thanks for this emphasis Scott).

And...armchair theology is a convenient practice...similar to being an armchair quarterback - you're actually not a good theologian until you apply your theology in the field. I have seen many people state with deep conviction their Biblical conviction about God's Sovereignty in the face of suffering, but have never suffered deeply or walked through deep suffering with anyone else. I've also heard people who teach with great conviction against homosexuality, but have never had a good friend who is a homosexual. In other words, theology removed from humanity and personal engagement can easily turn into an untested idealism. Now, please hear me - I am not saying I don't believe in the Sovereignty of God or the sin of homosexuality - I just know that my theology is best tested and affirmed in the face of real life.

I know of too many men who believe they are properly prepared for the ministry simply because they went through seminary or because they are good students of the Word. Men, please be good students, but follow the pattern of Jesus and Paul whose theology was alive, visible and tested in the real stuff of life.

Aaron Tweeton

on Jan 27, 2009 :: 7:02 am

Scott,
Thanks for writing this for ME. I needed to hear (or read) this. As a man "weighed" down with a wife and kids, I have had the church planting fever for years, constantly struggling with the thoughts that maybe I am called to plant a church too, but feeling somehow "restricted" by my family, that somehow my wife and kids are holding me back from God's purposes.

That's a lie! As you said in point #7, if I can't sustain a small "church" in my home, how can I plant anything worth anything? What I want to think is "zeal for the Gospel" is actually my pride because I want to do big things that will get glory for myself.

Anyway, thank you for writing this, because not only do younger unmarried men need to hear this, but also slightly older men need to hear this so we don't become bitter with our little churches at home, that we don't despise pastoring our wives and little ones, that we don't abandon planting our missional communities at home, and think we're justified because we're serving the Lord in ministry.

Thanks again.

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