By Lee Kemp
Today, I write this post with a burdened heart.
I am filled with an overwhelming desire to see established churches receive church plants and support them. For them to view church planting as an opportunity to advance the Kingdom of God. For them to take on the awesome privilege of incubating a baby body of believers instead of being consumed by advancing personal religious kingdoms. For them to pass the ball to teammates, instead of attempting to win the game in glorious pride.
When churches operate with this biblical mindset, the church walls fall down, religious kingdoms that separate local believers crumble, and the kingdom of God wins!
When we look at the New Testament we see the Apostle Paul calling on churches to support other local churches. We watch as they not only give financially to these churches, but give of themselves as well, sending the encouragement and spiritual support that only arrives with the physical presence of fellow believers.
Even more captivating, and definitely profound, was that the Macedonians, to Paul’s surprise, radically assisted and overwhelmed Paul with their willingness to hold up his ministry…
1 “Moreover, brothers, we want you to experience the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia, 2 how in a great trial of affliction, the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty overflowed toward the riches of their generous giving. 3 For I bear record that according to their means, and beyond their means, they freely gave, 4 begging us with much urgency that we would receive the gift and the fellowship of ministering to the saints. 5 This they did, not as we expected. First, they gave themselves to the Lord, and then to us by the will of God. 6 So we urged Titus, that as he had begun, so he would also complete this gracious deed for you. 7 But as you abound in everything—in faith, in utterance, in knowledge, in all diligence, and in your love to us—see that you abound in this grace also.”
2 Corinthians 8:1-8 (emphasis added)
Paul was surprised by the Macedonians’ radical willingness to be braces for his ministry namely because they were in a season of “great trial” and “deep poverty.”
When I reflect on our current realities as a Convention, it is apparent what we desire and seek… souls saved and vibrant churches experiencing a state of revival. I also understand our realities in the American church are not “great trial” and “deep poverty.” I am not ignoring that our religious liberties are being battled in the name of “tolerance.” However, we are not in a state of defending our liberties to the point where we may wave the banner of “great trial” over our spiritual state.
The Tension & Truth
One real tension church planters currently feel is the need for more “open handed” support…
- It’s not always about money.
- Could be a physical need, such as a place to gather.
- Could be people (although beware of a planter who wants more than a handful, may not be planting the gospel, but rather just starting another church service).
- Could be around an event, where a helping church provides the physical blessings while giving the church plant the credit.
As a church plant, we have been incredibly gifted with the biblical support of a church thus minded! Grand Avenue Baptist in Fort Smith. Not only did they take us under their wing physically, allowing us to meet for a year in their youth center, but they also have constantly supported us in the ways mentioned above.
For two years they have partnered with us, providing all the turkey dinners we need to distribute in our Timberline community, while giving us all the credit and allowing us to make the spiritual connections!
Who wins in this situation? Is it Forefront Church? Is it Grand Avenue Baptist?
What wins? The kingdom wins!
Quick Filters for a Kingdom Winning Strategy
As pastors and staff, are we truly seeking to advance the Kingdom of God, in whatever that may be, or do we spend, seek, protect, and build around our own religious kingdom? How are we and/or how can we partner with church planting in light of all of our current resources?
We are thankful for churches that support Dixie Jackson, for they are partnering and supporting church planting, throwing the ball down court, and allowing the freshmen to score!
And that’s a kingdom win for sure.