“Well done, brother. Well done.”
It was a sultry summer season day within the coronary heart of our nation’s capital. Simply outdoors the restaurant, laborers had been establishing fences and hanging bunting in preparation for the July Four celebration.
Inside, we had been having a celebration of our personal. Some 10 or 12 males had gathered collectively to have a good time the ministry of one among our personal church planters. It was an exquisite event.
Dozens of individuals walked by with out curiosity because the brothers laughed, prayed, and inspired this valuable man. One after the other, they spoke phrases of heartfelt gratitude for the way he had impressed and inspired them in their very own ministry.
One documented the brother’s biblical constancy, one other his eagerness for evangelism, nonetheless one other his espresso snobbery, adopted by one other who testified to his love for the church. Our hearts had been as full as our bellies as we rejoiced in how this man had helped us all.
Had you been within the neighboring sales space and listened, I’m positive you’d have testified to the success of this planter. And also you’d have been proper. Solely, the event of the meal was to say goodbye to this brother and his household as they transitioned out of town; his church hadn’t made it previous the indomitable five-year mark of a church plant.
Within the eyes of church-planting gurus, he had failed. However within the eyes of God, he had not.
The 4 S’s
For much too lengthy in America, we’ve been led to consider a lie. Whereas few will come proper out and say it, we’ve been led to consider that church-planting success is outlined by the buildup of what I name the “four S’s:” dimension, pace, self-sufficiency, and unfold.
Get a big dimension, get it rapidly, so that you may be financially self-sufficient to unfold your plant to different websites of varied kinds. If you happen to attain all of those, then you should have “made it.” You get the advantage badge of the fifth “S”—success.
As an added bonus, when you can accomplish these S’s in an city setting, you’re deemed an much more profitable church planter. Conferences and publishers will come operating to ask you to handle the plenty on how you can duplicate your success.
I’m a 100 p.c assured the Lord has used this methodology for the unfold of his infinite price. I consider God has and can proceed to trigger folks to be born once more and discipled inside these sorts of environments. I’d argue, nonetheless, that these markers for “success” are fatally flawed within the financial system of God’s kingdom.
Failure and Success
This brother and his co-laborers labored laborious within the metropolis. They tabled at festivals, did service initiatives, prayer walked, handed out supplies, invited neighbors for meals, and facilitated companies that dripped with gospel grace. Some got here, however after 5 years he wanted to maneuver on to make a residing for his household and keep away from being the infidel Paul speaks of in 1 Timothy 5:8.
Did he fail?
Unequivocally, no. Oh, what pleasure and freedom there may be in that reply! I’d even go as far as to say he succeeded greater than some church-planting gurus who stand on high-profile platforms.
Ministry success ought to by no means be measured by the machinations of Wall Avenue, Silicon Valley, Hollywood, or Manhattan. We consider that the Lord in his infinite knowledge used a humble teenage lady from a spot like Possumtrot, Kentucky, to deliver the Redeemer. We consider Jesus gained because the world laughed at his loss.
Profitable church planters are just like the profitable farmer of Mark 4:26–29. He scatters the seed, then he goes to sleep: “The seed sprouts and grows, and he knows not how.”
Absolutely, if we’d requested, “How do plants grow?” the farmer would’ve identified the reply. However Jesus’s level is to focus on the sufficiency of the seed—the Phrase. Because it’s buried into the soil of the world, fruit springs up within the locations the place it’s preached.
God Does It
There aren’t any “proven strategies,” no books, no Enneagram numbers, that when you simply plug right into a metropolis will produce success. Success is discovered within the devoted spreading of the seed.
How does it develop? We. Know. Not. How. We planters relaxation within the sufficiency of Christ and the Phrase that factors to him as we lovingly and liberally scatter the gospel in our cities. Scattering seed and sleeping defines our success, beloved. How about that?
Success is discovered within the devoted spreading of the seed.
Really feel the freedom, then, church planter, of descending on a metropolis with the facility of the gospel and the mannequin of success which will end in two, 20, or 200 years. Really feel the freedom of “succeeding” with a handful of messed-up folks assembly in your house over some chili you threw collectively after working your part-time job.
Did you like these folks in your house? Did you pray for them? Did you preach the gospel to them? Did you name them to reply? Did you provide to stroll with them? Did you name them to stroll with one another?
Then relaxation nicely. Fall asleep with pleasure in your hearts and hope for tomorrow. It doesn’t matter what might come when the solar rises, you may relaxation assured you’re succeeding. Come what might, you will note your Savior head to head and listen to the phrases: “Well done, good and faithful servant. Enter into the joy of your master” (Matt. 25:21).