In Ecclesiastes 7, the Preacher tells us to be neither “overly wise” nor “overly foolish.” Which means, don’t put an excessive amount of belief in your individual knowledge, but don’t neglect the position that knowledge performs in navigating difficult endeavors. Discover the stability.
One of many greatest pitfalls in church planting is forsaking this stability. It’s simple to both overestimate or underestimate the position that “entrepreneurial aptitude” performs in planting a church. To some, even listening to the phrases “entrepreneur” and “church planting” in the identical sentence is alarming, whereas others might assume you possibly can study all the pieces you must learn about planting a church in Enterprise 101.
Knowledge and technique have components to play in efficient, sustainable gospel ministry.
Ought to we watch out to not belief an excessive amount of in entrepreneurship or rely too closely on our personal innovation? After all. But we also needs to acknowledge that knowledge and technique have components to play in efficient, sustainable gospel ministry.
The apostle Paul resolves this pressure, exhibiting us what it means to make use of knowledge and assume strategically whereas additionally embracing the scandal of the gospel and trusting within the energy of the Spirit. His sums up his method this manner: “I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings” (1 Cor. 9:22–23).
Entrepreneurial aptitude is simply that: turning into all issues to all folks.
Content material and Context
However this aptitude entails rigorously untangling two issues that always get conflated: content material and context. Paul did this masterfully. The content material of his message was mounted: it was the gospel, one thing goal he clearly defines (1 Cor. 15:1–5). However he additionally tailored to the context through which that gospel was offered and utilized.
Some planters worry that contemplating context will inevitably result in a distortion of content material. However Paul’s ministry exhibits in any other case. He knew that he wasn’t planting church buildings in a vacuum, and so he thought deliberately and strategically about easy methods to permeate these new areas with the gospel. He was conscious of issues like cultural practices and the prevailing spiritual framework of his viewers (Acts 17:16–34; Rom. 14:14–15). However Paul’s cautious consideration to such issues was not an finish in itself; it was for the sake of successfully bringing the excellent news of the dominion to bear on folks’s lives.
Too typically, church buildings tout themselves as “faithful” as a result of they refuse to contextualize. Once more, we must be cautious of too eagerly “changing with the times” or sidestepping the biblical marks of a church. However faithfulness to the gospel—as Paul exhibits us—requires that we by no means waver from the stumbling block of it (1 Cor. 1:23) and, on the similar time, deliberately and thoughtfully take away any obstacles which may hinder folks from listening to it. Doing this takes hard-won knowledge.
That is why Ecclesiastes 7 is pertinent. We should heed the Preacher’s name to not be “overly wise,” putting an excessive amount of belief in our programs and innovation. All of us can doubtless consider excessive examples the place entrepreneurial efforts—whether or not deliberately or not—search to switch the true energy behind the gospel’s advance. It’s sobering to assume how simple it’s to start with intentions of being “wise” or “strategic,” solely to slide proper down the slope towards metric-driven pragmatism.
It’s sobering to assume how simple it’s to start with intentions of being ‘wise’ or ‘strategic,’ solely to slide proper down the slope towards metric-driven pragmatism.
Planting a church will not be lower than beginning a brand new enterprise, however it’s much more—and our Enemy rejoices after we neglect that. He would love for us to imagine that our fashions and techniques have the ability to make somebody a brand new creation in Christ. He would have us go on in our employees conferences about “market share” and the “competition.” He relishes within the pastor’s choice to float away from the strange technique of Phrase and sacrament in favor of extra “engaging” options.
That is the guardrail on the opposite facet of the highway. As a result of whereas Paul demonstrates the worth of considerate contextualization, he additionally reminds us that on the subject of gospel advance, trusting in human ingenuity is an train in futility.
He reminds us that God’s “foolishness” is wiser than man’s ingenuity (1 Cor. 1:25), that what makes a certified pastor isn’t mind or charisma however godly character (1 Tim. 3:1–7), and that “lofty speech and wisdom” are not any match for the timeless, transcendent scandal of the cross preached within the energy of the Spirit (1 Cor. 2:1–5). So, whereas the New Testomony commends properly exercising entrepreneurial abilities, it additionally warns us there’s a means to take action that merely turns into purposeful atheism.
As we pursue turning into all issues to all folks for the sake of the gospel, we should maintain in view yet one more self-description Paul gives: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes” (Rom. 1:16).
Right here is the supply of saving energy for all folks in all contexts. We’re made alive in Christ not by relevance or cleverness, however as a result of he is alive. And that information—of an empty tomb and a risen Lord—deserves all of the intentionality we have now. The extra valuable the cargo, the extra consideration you pay to the supply route.
Whereas Paul demonstrates the worth of considerate contextualization, he additionally reminds us that on the subject of gospel advance, trusting in human ingenuity is an train in futility.
As we give the gospel its due consideration, we relaxation in the truth that it’s highly effective sufficient to free us from self-reliance. God’s new-creation challenge won’t ever be hindered by our lack of enterprise acumen. Actually, he loves to perform his work each via us and regardless of us.
So be inventive and strategic as you ponder how greatest to like the folks in your context. However in all of your efforts, belief the work of the Spirit, belief the strange technique of grace, and belief the gospel—for it, and it alone, “is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes.”