The stage lights were hot. Sweat poured down his cheeks, and he could feel a solitary bead of sweat sliding slowly down the bridge of his nose, tickling as it went. He knew that he’d never be invited back after the monologue he’d just challenged the crowd with. With a jet black Ronald McDonald ‘fro’ Keith Green arched his neck, sidled his mouth sideways up to the microphone that lurched out from his piano atop the stage in front of a crowd of thousands and sang the words:
Jesus commands us to go.
It should be the exception if we stay.
It’s no wonder we’re moving so slow,
when Gods children refuse to obey.
Feeling so called to stay
When the song was over the reaction was as mixed as the crowd at Mars Hill after Paul had spoken. Many were angry. Many were moved. Some wondered if he was theologically right. Keith Green was saved for a brief eight years before a fatal plane crash would rob the church of his clarion call, but his life and death both stimulated an entire generation to join the mission field. That was then. This is now. In our consumer church age today, you’d be lucky if you ever heard something as challenging from a Christian microphone.
Every young Mormon man presses a black suit, dons a white shirt, a black tie, and takes to cycling for approximately two years of their young life in dedication to the mission of expanding the borders of a cult. Counter-cult apologist Walter Martin used to ask “Are you willing to do for the truth what the cults do for a lie?”
I think that every Christian ought to give themselves to at least one church plant for two years during their life. It will not only dramatically transform how you view, and operate in church, it will probably wreck you for anything else the front lines of mission. Once you’ve planted a church, there’s no going back to the status quo.
The New Testament model of ministry is about expanding outwards whereas 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 was tempted to troll the post and quote the passages about Paul’s shipwreck and imprisonment, but alas, we live in strange days.
Our tendency today is to hunker in the bunker, but at some point, to taken new ground, the soldier has to leap over the top, risk the bullets and shrapnel, and take enemy fire. There have been to many who have opted to plant thinking it was the path to glory. They mistakenly assumed it would get them shiny tights and a shot at possessing a key to the Justice League washroom. All too late they realize that instead it earns them busted ribs, broken jaws, and a mouthful of asphalt. They mistakenly assumed that the grass would be greener on the other side of church planting than it was at the church where they served as a youth pastor at their old church. Grass? Who ever told them there was grass on the other side? This is a war, and the other side of the trench is a wash of mud, blood, and crud. Nonetheless, the Master wants the Kingdom to expand into that territory, and that means getting out of your foxhole and leaping over the top.
What will it look like for you to expand outward?
What will it take to get you to take action?
I ask myself this question regularly.
Maybe it’s time to get a bicycle…
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.