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church planting

I have been asked a couple of times the last few days what book I think is the best book on church planting. Well after having helped plant 3 and working on number 4 the book I believe to be not only the best, but the definitive book on church planting, the only book that should be used as a guide is the book of Acts.

Everything one needs to know about Church planning you will find, learn in the book of Acts. The other book, resources are just efforts by the flesh to make happen what is Jesus’, the Holy Spirit job to do, build the church.

Is there a Public Speaker claiming to be a Pastor in your pulpit? God showed me this yesterday, that most of those in the pulpit today are not Pastors, not fulfilling the role of a pastor, but simply are speakers. Look at the chart below showing some clips from dictionary definitions of the two.

 

 

Public Speaker

Pastor / Shepherd

A public speaker is a person who makes speaks in a public setting.

The objectives of a public speaker’s presentation can range from simply transmitting information, to motivating people to act, to simply telling a story.

A public speaker is one who is paid for his appearances do to his expertize in his field and subject knowledge and/or simply do to his speaking ability, charisma or persuasive abilities as a speaker.

A Public speaker’s focus is on building large crowds of followers and to promote his program, material’s, organization, services and self to generate sales of his material’s (books. CD’s) and developing even larger audiences to hear him speak.

   

The actual word in the text translated pastor is Shepherd, the role and tasks of a pastor are the same as of a shepherd over sheep, only his duties are over the body of Christ.

He is someone who has a passion for the Church, body of Christ and a passion for seeing the gospel impact every area of their lives.

One who herds, guards, and tends the needs of the people, One who cares for and guides a group of people.

A pastor is one who takes personal responsibility for the life and welfare of the people put in his care. He is willing lay down his life for the lives of his people. The pastor is in the trenches with the people, living life with them, among them to care for, instruct them and protect them. He keeps the wolves (the enemy, false teaching) from coming in and carrying off or leading his sheep astray. He is to feed the flock the Word of God.

He imitates the life of the good Shepherd Jesus, exemplifies Jesus’ description of Himself as a shepherd in John 10:1-16.

A pastor is intimately connected to his flock. The true pastor will follow the perfect example of the Chief Shepherd, the Lord Jesus Christ. He knows his flock therefore he knows their needs and can tend to them. He protects them, even at the cost of his own life. He not only feeds, instructs the people with the Word of God. He lives among them, eats with them, washes their feet, heals their wounds, prays with and for them, he knows them by name. If one wonders from the flock, is lost, he goes after them, seeks out his lost sheep to bring them back into the flock, he leaves the 99 to find the one lost sheep. He rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. And this can not be done from the pulpit, like Jesus he must live among, do life with his flock, and a true pastors heart wants to, must do so.

I heard a well known pastor of a large church a while back advise some new young pastors to never make friends with his people, never get personal with them. To hire a staff of people to keep everyone at bay. Never give out your phone number or email address. Never go among your church people, give your sermon and leave. ~ That is not a pastor according to God or the examples in the first church and scripture. It is impossible for a true pastor to be a private man, for he has the burden for his people.

So lets start calling people who, what they really are, lets stop calling a public speaker a pastor. and put them on the speaking circuit and lets get a true biblical Pastor/Shepherd in the pulpits. Someone who will do the job as defied by God, displayed by Jesus.

I feel this might be what is at the core of so much of what is wrong with many churches today, the one in the pulpit is not personally caring for the flock, pastoring. In other words he is NOT doing the job of a Pastor/Shepherd, he is simply a speaker delivering a message to a group of people who he has no real personal connection to.

I think John 10:13 reviles a lot when Jesus says “The hireling (public speaker) flees, because he is a hireling and does not care for the sheep.

What does it look like to live out the gospel, the would gospel. This is what it looks like in this story shared by Richared Stearns in his new book The Hole in our Gospel.

Richared met a pastor of a house church of 83 people while in Cambodia and he asked him his story, how did he come to Christ, and his story is summed up was.

His encounter with Christ began with Christians with World Vision who came to serve the poor, nursing the sick, educating the children and helping increase the food fro the hungry. So compelling was this service that it provoked questions in the mind of the curious man: Why are you here? Why are you helping us? The answer to these questions was the gospel, the good news. And they took me to a pastor who told me all about Jesus. He opened his bible and told me all about Jesus, explained salvation in Christ. And I committed my life to Jesus that day.

When asked, now what about the 83 people who worship with at your house church, how did they come to follow Jesus.

“I was so excited to learn about Jesus, that I had to share this good new with everyone I knew.

Wow there it is, the gospel in action, the great commission fulfilled.

A group of Christians taking the whole gospel va the great commission into the world. They saw Jesus was hungry so they gave Him food; that He was thirsty so they gave Him drink; that He was a stranger so they took Him in; that He was naked so they clothed Him; that He was sick so they visited Him.

Then giving an answer as to why they where doing it, Jesus. And as a result one person comes to faith in Christ, then he immediately goes and shares the gospel with other in the shadow of what the others where doing for them, they also come to faith and then he starts making disciples and a church is born and he is their pastor. That’s the gospel in action.

So let it be said of each Christians life, like Jesus said as you have seen, read, go and do like wise.

While at first Friday, a monthly event in the art district here in Kansas City. Came across still another new church in the art district, the third one in a two block area.

I was amazed to find out while talking with the “pastor” that he said “we are not about reaching the area, we just want to gather here at this location”. He went on to explain they have no ambition or desire to reach the community in the area, just travel there from other parts of the city where they lived, because it is the cool and hip part of town and want to meet there.

I would not call him a “church planter”, and reluctant to even really call him a pastor, because he does not have the heart of the gospel or Jesus, for the heart of the gospel and Jesus is to reach the lost. Go and preach the gospel and make disciples is the call, mission of the church. Not to gather in in cool and hip places.

I am hearing such stories to many times these days, seeing no passion for the lost, no crying and weeping over the lost, no cry such as that of John Knox when he preyed “Give me Scotland or I die!”. I have a really hard time finding a “church planter” today who’s prayer, passion is that of John Knox for their neighborhood. Especial one’s who’s actions back up such a prayer.

“Going to church no more make someone a Christian than going to McDonald’s make one a hamburger”. Something well said by Keith Green in the 80’s. But it is also very true that going to church, attending church, does not make you part of the church. We are called to be the church not attend a Christian country club where a show is put on for us. Biblical church requires the participation of each and every member to happen, each is giving a gift for the edification of the body. Each is given a spiritual gift that makes up the body of Christ. If someone is not exercising their gift each time the church gathers, that gathering of the Church is incomplete.

We are to be an active part of every gathering of the church, no one is to be an observer, each is there to an to contribute to the functioning of the body.

We are to ” strive to excel in building up the church.” 1Co 14:12, every Sunday, every time the church body gathers each of us has a part to do to make it happen. From God perspective it’s pointless for anyone to be there that is not contributing to the function of the church, He has given each a gift, part, place in the body to make church happen. And He says that no part is “indispensable” (1 Cor 12:22). As a pastor I can tell you I would rather have a gathering of 10 people whom each is exercising their spiritual gifts for the good of the body every time we gather, that a stadium filled with 10,000 observers.

Read 1 & 2 Cor, learn of the gifts and the part each of us is to play in the church, and if you do not know your gifts, seek them out, and go to the assembling together of the church with the expressed intent of exercising them. Let me give you some help here no matter what someone tells you changing diapers, passing out programs or directing traffic in the parking lot are not spiritual gifts. They can be service to the institution of the church, but not what God has in mind for you or limits you to. Do not let anyone sell you short in believing that is your “calling”, service to the body.

People have really never seen the real church in action tell they go to one where every single person is exercising their Spiritual gifts for the good of the body. Where there are no observers only functioning parts of the body. It is a glories sight to behold, it is the fullness of Christ manifested.

I believe that when is comes to being called to be a church planter and pastor, that the choosing should be up to God to decide who is, the churches job is to be able to recognize whom God has chosen. I think if a church of church planting organization wants to know who to back, ordain, send out. Simply look for the one doing it, yes I believe it is that simple. Looking for the one out fulfilling the great commission, who is out planting the gospel. The one that God is using to disciple the ones He is calling to follow Him. Look for the one who’s house if bulging at the seams from the number of new believers that fill his house every week to be discipled, feed the word and to have community together.

Look for the one whom God has anointed to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn;” and is doing it, not just talking about it.

Look for the ones who weep over the lost, who are men of much prayer, who labor day and night for the gospel. The ones who nether need your permission to plant or pastor. Nor can be stopped by you in doing so. Not the one focused on money, buildings, programs and professional entertainers.

Look for the ones God is bring up gathering of believers our of the wake of his faithful gospel panting.

Look for the one whom the Spirit is upon and speak the word threw him, that others just natural flock to them to be shepherd, to learn from, to follow.

When you find such men, you have found God’s choice, the one God is using to plant churches, he is the one already doing it.

I have taken note of late how so many church planting groups have set up very long list of requirements to both be a church planter and pastor. But yet I find no such list or requirements by God in scripture. One group that I have a connection to takes the requirements for elders and bishops in the bible and applies those to planters and pastors, but that is not what the scriptures say those requirements are for are for. So they are taking it upon them selves to apply those requirements to being a pastor.

If one looks at scripture what one will find is God uses whom He wants to do His work in the top areas like prophets, pastors, leaders such as Kings. And He has always it seem used the worst sinners He can find. The ones He knows will screw up big time. Unlike so many groups today who say you must be not only sinless but can never at any time in your life sinned or have any faults at all. And if you every do sin, you are out, fired. But yet God has never done that, required such a thing.

When I look at scripture what I find is that God chooses whom He wish without regard to who man thinks should be the one. In fact through out history His people have overwhelmingly be opposed to His pick to sever and speak for Him. Like Jesus said, “no prophet is accepted in his time.” When He picked David He passed over David’s 6 older brothers for the one no one expected to the one. When He called Saul, out of all the Pharisees he pick the worst one, passing over the Nickodemus’ in lieu for the one who was against the church to plant churches.

God sums it up in 1 Co 1:27 But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God.

You see God picks and uses sinners even the worst sinners to hold the highest offices in His kingdom, the most important jobs, He uses murders, adulterers, cheats, and liar’s, even men of the worst kind of sins. So that He and He alone gets all the credit for what the person does, so that unlike so many today do, take credit for what they are doing, or claim they deserve the calling based on their own righteousness. Bur rather they must claim it is only by the mercy and the righteousness of Christ alone, anything good they do is God not of their own merit or ability.

I am both amazed and saddened a how many church that I have visited and during the entire message the pastor never mention the name of Jesus once, or only two or three times on a good day. There are pastors whom I have heard numerous sermons of, and have never heard them say the name of Jesus once even. The church gathering is all about Jesus, how can any pastor get up there and speak for thirty of forty minuets and not talk about Jesus. This really bothers me, deep in my sprit.

As a comparison, Mike Bickel pastor of Forerunner Christian Fellowship and head of International House of Prayer (IHOP), someone whom I hear often. I tried to count how many times he says the name of Jesus, I lost count after 60 times in one sermon, now that’s a sermon about Jesus, thats a true gathering of the church. I can say the same thing about Chuck Smith and Greg Laurie, you will have a hard time keeping count, they say His name so much.

I feel that if the apostle Paul was to go to most churches today he would be compelled to give the speech he gave at Athens, referring to the unknown god the people worshiped.

Act 17:23 For as I passed along and observed the objects of your worship, I found also an altar with this inscription, ‘To the unknown god.’ What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you.

After all if the pastor is not naming Jesus, not identifying Jesus as the Lord and God whom the church is gathered together to worship, then, who is it he is worshiping up there, talking about if not Jesus?

Pay attention next service at your church and keep track how many times you pastor says the name of Jesus, how much of his teaching is about Jesus. And if you can count it on one hand, you must ask yourself this. What is this church really about, is the pastor really about Jesus or something else? If the pastor is not passionate about Jesus, all about preaching Jesus, then the church and those in it will not be ether.

 

 

 

 

 

 

PJ Smyth Session at the Acts 29 Church Planters Boot Camp, “The Call”. His session was on the Gospel. It was very good.

Main Aspects of Proclaiming the Gospel

1. The Definition of the Gospel Romans 1:1-2

2. The Result of the Gospel 1 Peter 2:9-12

3. The Defenders of the Gospel

4. The Enemies of the Gospel

The Gospel is Jesus

The question is not “what is the Gospel” but “who is the Gospel”! The Gospel is Jesus! The Gospel is the story of the life, death and resurrection of Christ.

Gospel of mercy results in a community. It’s what the Gospel does. It’s what God has always wanted.

The Gospel is proclamational and demonstrable. It is about saying and doing.

Gospel is also the gospel of the Kingdom – it is over everything under the sun, thinking, doing, being.

Ephesians 3:7-12 The gospel has so many folds to it that you need the full body of Jesus to proclaim the fullness of it!

The Result of the Gospel

The Gospel of mercy creates a new community of people on the earth every time it is preached! God has always wanted people. Through the proclamation of the Gospel the local church is formed and exists.

The Gospel has to be multiplied and be spread. It is too big to stay put. God is too big for one place. His mercy and Gospel will be multiplied!

Upon His sacrifice the veil was torn allowing ALL people from All nations to come to Him. The Gospel is for all people.

Changed lives are the real result of the Gospel. He has purchased all people through His sacrifice. He has opened the road to redemption for all people.

The Gospel changes us! We have no choice but to change after coming face to face with the truth.

The Enemies of the Gospel

We must defend the Gospel. There will be enemies and falsehoods to be deterred in order to defend the Gospel.

Anything that gets more focus time and worship than Jesus is idolatry! Recognize this a flee from it. Our problem with idolatry is perception! We don’t perceive the lies because we are a selfish and ignorant people.

We need to expose the idols we worship! We have to call them the junk they are!

We can’t expose idols without exposing Jesus, that He may expose us.

Idol testing: Ask yourself “What do you want most?” What captures your mind when it wanders… job, a spouse, status?

Let Jesus be lifted up and everything else will be exposed for the junk it really is. compared to Jesus, everything else is bunk.

Identity in the Gospel

The Gospel keeps our identity from being grounded in the works of our hands, and keeps our identity grounded in the grace of Jesus!

Identity first, then death of sin. If identity gets messed up along the way then fix it FIRST

Jesus says you’re mine, you’re righteous forever whether or not you do good stuff. This is our new ID

Religion says you suck, so change and you won’t suck.

The Gospel says you don’t suck and you’re not condemned, so go and sin no more! He is working in us to do as we should!

We have a new identity in Christ. That should be our center focus of worship, the transformation on Christ in us.

Identity in Christ will lead to a church full of good works!

The law leads me to Jesus – by abiding in Him I will be provoked to righteousness (John 15)

Religion will provoke you to sin. If you want a church full of sin, load it up with rules! Romans 7:8

You cannot just be a man of prayer and bible study to lead a church. You have to love Jesus, really love Jesus above all else.

Defenders of the Gospel

1. Planting Churches

2. Preaching the Gospel

3. Honoring the Sovereignty of God

4. Diligent Discipleship that results in changed lives

5. Tearing Down Idols

6. Tearing Down Religious Legalism

You must get convinced of the Gospel, own it, take it as It’s My Gospel

Grasp that you have been preserved for higher things for the sake of the gospel.

Become accountable to the Gospel Gal 2:6

Become Convinced, Unashamed, Accountable, and a Slave to the Gospel. That is your calling

Become Completely Unashamed of the Gospel! Acts 17:26-27, Mt 5:14-16, Hab 2:14, Mt 4:17, Acts 2:38

Become a Slave to the Gospel Romans 1:1

Do not be ashamed of the Gospel. Do not be ashamed to call people to repentance. Do not be ashamed of your calling, who you are.

My notes from the Acts 29 Boot Camp “The Call” from Matt Chandlers teaching. Matt hit is out of the park, was a much needed message on the necessity and biblical call to teach the Word of God, proclaim the Word of God. He was really addressing Andy Stanley resent interview where he said the word of God should not to thought, proclaim from the pupit. I addressed Andy myself on my Blog here .

Matt Chandler – The Call to Preach

John 1:1-18: Some people are attacking the preaching of the word of God. That’s because there are some yahoo’s saying that preaching doesn’t work. But it is really all about selling books, drawing big crowds!

Exodus 3: If God is who He says He is, and He hears His people, and He is going to move to action. Then Moses had to ask the question, ”Why are you talking to me then?” Moses had to ask why would God chose him to do the things that He could simply do himself?

When God wants of move and flex He finds a herald and tells him ‘trust me, go and say what I want you to say, I’ll do the rest’

Jeremiah 1:4-10: God wants to speak His truth and spread the truth, but it comes through people. God chooses to use us as His heralds!
God does.

God’s method has not changed from the Old to the New Testament. He still uses man to herald truth.

You can improve on the gospel or the word of God. never make it cool enough for everyone.

Over and over in Acts it says “they preached the Gospel”

Matthew 28:18-20: Read prior to this, As He is ascending into Heaven there are still guys standing there saying they are not sure if He is really God. But, His departing words were to go and herald the truth! He sends them out to preach and teach. It is our calling!

This truly began to happen in the power of the Holy Spirit when Peter stood at Pentecost and proclaimed the Gospel and the Holy Spirit fell on the people.

It can be contextualization, but you will never make the Gospel cool and good to All people! Realize that you will waste time of that is your main Goal. That was not Peter’s objective when he spoke at Pentecost!

All through acts Paul preached the gospel without compromise and it moved and made a difference! The Gospel made a massive change in the city of Ephesus!

The Gospel, when proclaimed, will make waves and make an impact. There is a need for man to proclaim the Gospel. There is a need for pastors to preach the Word!

All through acts Paul preached the gospel without compromise and it moved and made a difference! The Gospel made a massive change in the city of Ephesus!

The Gospel, when proclaimed, will make waves and make an impact. There is a need for man to proclaim the Gospel. There is a need for pastors to preach the Word!

2 Timothy 3:10-16: We have to wake up and quit being surprised by the “silliness” of the state of the church in America. There will be sermons without the Bible, there will be falsehoods taught as fact, there will be arrogant and selfish people leading. There has never been a glory day! We must stay in touch with the Gospel. The truth in the Scriptures is what will make us fall in love with Christ and subject us to the persecution of the world! The people who stand against us may not try to kill us, but they will try to discredit us!

Moses got to lead griping championing people! Isaiah got to lead people who would hear. Jeremiah was sent to warn the people who wouldn’t heed the warning. But, God has called them to lead and speak…..So, they did. God used those men to impact the world. They just had to lead people. Things have not changed!

Preaching is not a game and it is not cute! You must work hard to keep from selling out! Do not compromise the truth of the Word and the Gospel! Do not sell out!!!!!!!

Timothy 3:16: We cannot leave out any of the Gospel. It is all profitable!

We must use the Bible! We must not be apologetic for this! We have to use the text. That is why God have it to us! Quit talking and preaching about nothing. use the word!

If you are not willing to call sin sin and point it out in the life of your people, you are a coward. You do not belong in the pulpit! Go do something else!

The scripture is used for the reproof, rebuking and correction of lives. We have to use this powerful tool for exactly what God intended it to be. That is the purpose of God’s Word. It is all God Breathed!

We have an obligation to take our people in to God’s Word and show them the truth that is found in it! We must make sure our people know the fullness of God’s Word. They need to know what is in there and how to live by it.

We have to use the Word for training in Righteousness. This is a huge must! We need to be striving for sanctification and holiness. The Word of God is used for training in righteousness. Where sin abounds, the Word is not being taught well!

We must be ready in season and out of season to preach the word! That mean we must be ready in and out of season to reproof, rebuke, train, etc!

Do this with patience. Do not hate your people, shepherd them even when it’s rough. 2 Timothy 4:2 That is one of the core center of our calling.

Many guys do not realize that this opens us up to a higher level of judgment!

Recognize that when the times comes when people turn away from sound teaching that you must remain sober-minded and just. Sick to the truth and do not compromise! Make sure you guard your heart and guard your mind. Otherwise you will be operating out of your gifts and not the power of the Holy Spirit. 2 Timothy 4

As a pastor/preacher you have to check your ego at the door. Be prepared for people to be bothered and for them to leave. Be there only to fulfill your ministry and your calling!

Be who God created you to be. Be the pastor He gifted you to be. Fulfill your ministry. Do not emulate another guy’s ministry. Don’t try to be like the other guys. Don’t try to be the next Billy Graham!

Simply this, if you’re called to be a pastor then Preach the Word!

We are here because someone entrusted truth to us and taught us the Word. This came through preaching and will continue through preaching. Preaching is a calling and a gift. It is a must in the proclamation and continuation of the Gospel!

Then Matt made a strong statement, said if you are not proclaiming the Word of God, get out of the pulpit. If you are not going to teach the Word of, then go home and withdraw your application from here! I liked his bold call to preach the Word of God, not heard enough today.