People Don’t Plant Churches. The Gospel Does.By Guest Author
April 29, 2021
Guest post from Marius Mezin
Planting churches seems to be the newest trend in the evangelical world today. Considering the number of people and organizations that are involved in planting new churches, we might believe that we are experiencing a new wave of revival in the church.
All kinds of churches are being planted, most of them with a contemporary flavor, as this seems to be the secret of a successful church. If you are contemporary, then you are heading toward success, guaranteed.
When we analyze this movement, we discover that some of the churches are planted by a charismatic leader who has a team of high-qualified people around him; modern music performed by well-skilled musicians, expensive sound systems and lights, and, not the least important, very good leadership skills. These are the ingredients of the modern movement of planting new churches.
All of the above are not wrong in themselves but surely they are not as critical as some of the modern leaders try to present them.
A few weeks ago I was reading through John 17 again but this time a little different than before. It seems to me that Jesus is presenting His ministry report to the Father at the end of his work. As I was getting into His prayer, I had that awareness that if we evaluated Jesus’ work through the lens of some modern churches, it would have not passed the test because it would have been considered a failure.
What Matters to Jesus
But we know that it is not the case. So, what are the things that really matter to Jesus? Because this is what we need to know as we plant and strengthen churches today, specifically in Eastern Europe.
God’s glory is really important (John 17:1-5). We are seeking that glory that is ready to cultivate a culture of self-denying. To be preaching about God’s glory while we are working hard to build glory for ourselves is a contradiction and a sin.
Discipleship is important (John 17:6-8). We are serious about it when we give the Word to the people we serve, not just self-improvement or moralizing messages.
Our dependence on God is important (John 17:11). We understand that we cannot protect ourselves therefore we ask God to protect us from the evil one and we work hard to motivated people not to discover how strong they are but how much they need God.
Our unity is important for Jesus (John 17:11). We become stronger in our unity as we understand that the unity Jesus talked about wasn’t a social but a spiritual one. The closer we all get to Jesus, the stronger our unity becomes.
Our witnessing is important. As Jesus was able to see not only the disciples he had at that moment but the many converts their testimony would produce in the future centuries.
It seems clear to me that when we talk about planting churches, we have to get to that point of recognizing that we can’t plant churches but the Gospel still does it. And when the churches are planted by the Gospel we proclaim and live out, then Jesus is glorified as the One who continues to builds His Church.