As a counseling pastor, I routinely discuss desires, motivations, and goals with church members. While we always do things for a reason, sometimes those reasons can be hard to discern. I’m assuming you’re reading this because you have some level of interest or investment in church planting. What I am not going to do is assume your motives. Instead, let me offer a motivation for either continuing on in church planting or taking that first step: planting churches pleases God.
Several years ago, I stumbled upon a life-changing motivation in the Scriptures: “So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him” (2 Cor. 5:9). These words provoked a question that I had never really asked myself: “Do I make it my aim to please God in all that I do?” Seeking God’s pleasure quickly became the framework for how I approached the different situations and circumstances of my life. Whatever I’m faced with, I try to ask, “How can I please God?”
But how can we know for sure that we’re pleasing God? Simply put, we can have confidence we’re pleasing God when we live like he lives. In John’s Gospel, Jesus invites us into the inner workings of his own motivations: “And he who sent me is with me. He has not left me alone, for I always do the things that are pleasing to him” (John 8:29).
We can be sure that if Jesus does something, he does it with intentionality. That’s incredibly encouraging for us because Christ lives in us! We have the mind of Christ and the Spirit of God so we can be empowered by God to please him. We can make disciples by planting churches to the glory of God and for the pleasure of God. Let me offer three ways planting churches pleases God.
Church Planting Helps Us Prioritize the Mission of God
The reason I believe church planting pleases God is because it prioritizes his mission—namely, to take people who are dead in their sins and make them alive in Christ. “The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost” (1 Tim. 1:15). Why did Jesus come into the world? What was his mission? To save sinners. Jesus repeatedly pointed back to the will of his Father as the foundation for what he did and said. He had an unwavering commitment to the mission of God. Seeking to see the glory of God spread to every corner of the world should be our priority because it’s God’s priority. Click To Tweet
When we plant gospel-centered churches, we prioritize this mission. Seeking to see the glory of God spread to every corner of the world should be our priority because it’s God’s priority. The people of God, prioritizing the mission of God, bring pleasure to God.
Church Planting Helps Us Pursue the Mission of God
If I recognize I need to get into better shape, then I’ve identified a good goal. But how do I do it? I’m not going to get fit by simply recognizing my need to do so. It’s one thing to have a goal or plan; it’s quite another to achieve it. We can say we want to see every nation, tribe, and tongue come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ, but we must pair that speech with action. Mobilizing men and women to go into pockets of lostness and start new gospel work helps us to actively pursue the mission of God in the world.
Jesus didn’t say that the gates of hell would not prevail against individuals, he said the gates of hell would not prevail against his church (Matt. 16:18). When we plant gospel-centered churches, we continue God’s mission of destroying the strongholds of evil in the world. The people of God, pursuing the mission of God, bring pleasure to God.
Church Planting Helps Us Persevere in the Mission of God
Maybe you’re reading this as a seasoned church planter. You survived the early days of scrambling to find volunteers, operating on a shoestring budget, and praying you wouldn’t get kicked out of your Sunday morning gathering space. Now, you have faithful and reliable servants, a sustainable budget, and the security of a building you can call “home.” If so, praise God! Those are good things. However, there can be danger in comfort and predictability. Complacency is a killer. Sustainability in numbers and finances isn’t our goal; seeing the gospel change lives is our goal.When we plant gospel-centered churches, we continue God’s mission of destroying the strongholds of evil in the world. Click To Tweet
The drive to plant churches keeps us focused on the mission. Leveraging the resources of time, people, and finances to see healthy churches planted helps us persevere in the mission of God. The people of God, persevering in the mission of God, bring pleasure to God.
Let me encourage you to keep trusting and relying on God who is actively working in you as you labor for the gospel through church planting. He’s working, and he never fails. “Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen” (Heb. 13:20–21).