If you’re going to be a church planter, you’re not going to get paid to read books and drink coffee. You won’t get paid to eat at expensive restaurants or wear nice clothes while you crack jokes from the pulpit. But from heaven’s perspective, the world is not worthy of you.
All too frequently, a young man sets his sight on the ministry because he’s gunning for a pulpit. He’s told that he’ll need to buckle down for a lengthy term at seminary and a hefty bill to pay the price. On the day he graduates, he somehow doesn’t feel any more qualified to minister to people than when he went in. He’s had his nose buried in texts, and subtexts, but he still can’t read between the lines. He’s book smart, not street smart. It’s time that we realize that seminary, as helpful as it can be, is still a business. They need your money too. If you’re willing to give it to them, in exchange for a degree, you’ll come out the other side wiser about supralapsarianism and infalasarianism, or at least able to say the words and define their meanings, but none the wiser about how to actually reach the lost, cast out a demon, or heal the sick. You probably won’t be able to preach either. As far as people are concerned, most likely you will resemble Spurgeon’s remarks about most seminarians, “at home among the books, but at sea when it comes to men”.
Many seminary grads who once dreamed of “tearing it up” for Jesus come to the realization that at the end of their seminary term they have no idea how to do what Paul did in the book of Acts. They can alliterate points, protect Christian orthodoxy, yet they are unable to do the most important thing that Paul did; plant a church.
Paul was not a Pastor. Sure, he did pastoral things, but he was a front-line church planting missionary. The New Testament model of ministry is about EXPANDING outwards, wherein most of our churches today are about building upwards…getting a bigger widescreen; a better website; a larger parking lot; more comfortable sanctuary seats…and don’t forget multiple services! I recently saw a church planter post a picture of all of the chairs he’d bought for his new church plant and add the caption “That’s what faith looks like”. I wanted to troll the post and quote the passages about Paul’s shipwreck and imprisonment, but alas, we live in strange days.
So if Paul wasn’t a Pastor, what exactly was he? The Greek term apostolos means “sent one” or missionary. In other words, he was a man on the move. Like a gospel Navy Seal, Paul would infiltrate a culture, and with deadly efficiency, complete his objective, nail his target, and he was gone with a splash as he moved on to the next target. The glass slipper of a mega church would never have fit the travel worn soles of the apostle’s blistered and calloused feet. Paul would rather plant churches “where Christ has not been named” than to stay in on spot and show off the prowess of his preaching from the pulpit. Paul was a front-liner. He was down and dirty in the trenches. Church planter, this is what you’ve been called to. There will be shrapnel embedded in your body, and mud under your fingernails. There will be blood.
Don’t get me wrong. I am not in any way averse to the concept of a mega church. After all, every soldiers starts out in the safety of the bunker. But he doesn’t stay there.
Nonetheless, large churches are a part of God’s plan for the mobilization of his army in this kingdom war. A large church was created overnight in Jerusalem by the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. Mega churches are necessary today just as they were in the New Testament. Jerusalem, Antioch, and Ephesus were power houses of mission that God used to send out missionaries throughout Judea, Asia Minor, and beyond. Simply put, they were sending agencies. But is it that hard to send others out who take all the risks? What about those on the front lines? Those that are out there stopping bullets? I’m not talking about organizing a fun volleyball beach party for the youth group, but hosting an open mic night at the gay coffeehouse hang in the heart of the rainbow district? You see, in a strange twist of church planting principles, church planters aren’t actually called to plant churches. They’re called to reach the lost, and make disciples. Out of that, churches just happen. The church planter is called to infiltrate the darkness with light, and for that reason he has to be a little more bad like Batman, and a bit less boy scout than Superman.
Buy Peyton’s newest book “Reaching The Unreached: Becoming Raiders of the Lost Art” over on Amazon.com. You can also download a free chapter and watch a cool trailer for the book HERE or click the image below.