Church planting for Dummies
If you have ever been to our church you will have noticed that we have a big ambition to see lots of people come and respond to the great news of Jesus. You will have probably noticed that we are also a bunch of ordinary people. We are not very impressive.
So how can such an ordinary bunch of people build a healthy, growing, church? In one sense, we can’t; it is the Lord Jesus who will build His church. Churches only experience real growth through our triune God graciously being at work amongst them. That being true, I wish to suggest three common themes that mark healthy church plants, which we are seeking to do here at Trinity.
How can ordinary people plant churches?
- Genuinely love people
Most people in the UK are suspicious of evangelical Christians. For many, Christianity is at best irrelevant and at worst bigoted. (Check out this article to see how things might go in the future). Our culture is, in general, suspicious and cynical when it comes to the Gospel. Most people don’t actually have a Christian friend. Over the last few years we have seen many Gospel opportunities open up as we get to know and love people. As we genuinely love our neighbours, over time, many of their misconceptions begin to melt away.
We try to work together with other community groups on projects which are for the common good of the Everton/Anfield area. As we do this we build relationships with others which can create an openness to reconsider the gospel.
- Use everyday situations to share the Gospel
“If all we do are good works among people, then we point to ourselves and our charitable acts. People will think well of us, but not of Jesus Christ.” Tim Chester
In the quote above, Chester helpfully shows the necessity of Gospel proclamation. We are not helping people eternally if we simply help them but never speak. It is important to genuinely love people and it is vital that we share the good news of Jesus with them. We need to gossip the Gospel.
We are praying that God will give us opportunities and boldness to talk with people around us about Jesus. We are always seeking to understand how God in the Gospel will satisfy their deepest needs and desires. Then keeping our ears open.
As you talk with people, try to understand what they are living for. Help them to see how God in the Gospel offers them something better. I would really recommend spending some time re-reading a Gospel, reminding yourself of who Jesus is and what he did, and then using those stories and truths as you speak with friends.
- Create ways for people to experience Christian community
How can we see God? A friend of mine recently reminded me that the New Testament offers two answers.
“No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is Himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made Him known.” John 1:18
“No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and His love is made complete in us.” 1 John 4:12
If we want people to see God, then we need to introduce them to our Lord Jesus – God in skin. But we should also give them opportunities to observe Christians loving one another. God has created His church to reveal something of Himself to a dying world. As Christians love one another, God lives in us. Christians serving and loving one another is a beautiful thing; we should give non-Christians the chance to observe and experience it. As churches and small groups we should be willing and able to invite non-Christians along by making things intelligible and accessible for them. And as we do, we should be praying that God would reveal Himself through His Son, and that people would begin to sense His beauty as we love one another.
It’s not rocket science; nor is it a magic bullet; nor is it special or impressive – but I am praying that it will spur us on to evangelise our area and our nation through ordinary people planting Gospel churches which are extraordinary.
This article originally appeared at http://thegospelpartnerships.org.uk/