The tower of Babel warns us what happens when people try to make a name for themselves. If building upwards is your motivation, then you’d better quit while you’re behind. If you’re not out to make a name for Jesus, then you’re in for a world of hurt…no matter how big your church grows. There are people out there who like to eat feces, it’s a medical condition, and I’m sure you’ll have no problem finding people who suffer from its spiritual counterpart. Dai once had a topic at a conference titled Why Plant a Church When You Can Hit Yourself Over the Head with a
Hammer”? Brilliant title; stunningly accurate. All we’ve ever been able to promise our church planters is blood, sweat, and tears.
What God has done through the “famous ones” is usually special. You’re not. Lesson one. I’m assuming you’re not a snowflake and can handle being told up front that you’re probably not one of those guys. If you’re cool with that you’re better off knowing up front, than painfully coming to grips with it after five years of struggle, wondering why your fast-track to fortune and glory “never took off”. Instead, it’ll be you who takes off, leaving a broken neighborhood with another Father figure walking out of their lives.
If you’re going to impact that places where Jesus is truly needed, either in America, or further afield, you’re going to need to sacrifice the Isaac of fame on the altar of the God who called you to leave everything behind. Unless your church planting is motivated by a passion for the lost to behold Him, coupled with a sense of your unworthiness to untie His sandal straps, you’re just playing church, like a 5 year old plays house.
When I was working at Starbucks, happily living under the illusion that God took me seriously about quitting ministry, somebody came up to the bar. Quoting Deuteronomy, he said, “Hey, I have a prophesy for you. You have been the tail, but I am going to make you the head.” I smiled as I looked at him, and replied, “That’s really nice of you to say that, but the truth is, if you knew what God was really saying to me over the past year, you’d know that He’s been teaching me that I’m the tail. I’m really happy being that, because every time I think I’m the head, I get my tail kicked. I’m sorry, but I’m going to have to reject that as a prophesy brother.” I was content making coffee and telling people about Jesus as the opportunity arose. The best thing about Pillar starting up was that when it got underway, I couldn’t care less about my online sermon archives, position in the church, or whether anybody would ever hear about it. None of that rubbish even mattered to me. All that mattered to me was that the people in front of me knew that they were loved by the Father, saw Jesus, and were filled with the Holy Spirit. I had never before done ministry so purely…WHERE IT WASN’T ABOUT ME!
There is one area in which your ambition should be grand. C.E. Jefferson in the character of Paul states:
“He was great in his aims and plans. There was nothing small in his ambitions. He had in him the spirit of a world conqueror. He was far greater than Alexander the Great. He was always dreaming of other worlds to conquer. Nothing less than the whole world for Christ would satisfy his heart. He carried in his eye Rome, the center of the world, and Spain, the end of it. In his imagination , he could see every knee bending, and every tongue confessing that Jesus is the Master indeed.
He is the Christian Hercules, and his labours are so varied and wonderful that we sometimes lose the man in the blaze and glory of all that he accomplished. It was he who lifted the Christian religion out of its Palestinian cradle, tore away its swaddling clothes and trained it to walk along the highways of the Roman Empire. It was he who chipped the shell and set the imprisoned eagle free. It was he who lit the first christian lamp in the palace of the Caesars. It was he who converted a Jewish sect into a world religion. It was he who saw Jesus not simply as the Jewish Messiah, but as divine Savior of all mankind. It was he who placed the cross of Jesus at the center of human history and also at the center of the Universe.”_
(C. E. Jefferson – The Character of Paul pg. 376)
God’s advice to Baruch should suffice any prospective planter “Do you seek great things for yourself? Do not seek them.”
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.