If your main role is to proclaim the gospel, then you are the one most in need of the gospel! And, if you are going to plant, pastor, or lead a church, you are going to need to become a ninja in relation to gospel application. The Spirit said that he would help with that. He is really good at helping you put to death the sin and anti-God tendencies or desires within you while also igniting new affections for Jesus.
You will have to believe the gospel regarding approval. You are not the sum total of your success or failure. Because of Jesus, the Father says that you are a beloved child and in Christ; he is pleased with you. Get used to that. You are secure because of Jesus’s death and resurrection.
You will have to believe the gospel regarding comfort. You are called to the God of all comfort. You have all the comfort you need in him. You don’t need to seek out the lush privileges that this world has to offer to dull some of the pain you experience. A moment of raw one hundred proof comfort found only in Christ will delight the soul in ways that no intoxicating substance ever could.
You will have to believe the gospel regarding control. The moment you take your game plan and involve actual people, then everything will change! They will not do things the way you want them to. Rental locations will fall through. Support won’t come in. The musicians will all get strep throat. The offering will get stolen. Crazy people will join your core group—and some of them will start dating one another. If you don’t rest your head on the pillow of the sovereign Lord, then you will try to find rest in a different gospel. You will lose your mind trying to micromanage everything so that nothing is out of your grip. But you serve the all-powerful and sovereign Lord who was doing just fine before you came along. Control is an illusion. Give it up.
If we are to plant, pastor, or lead a church, then we must help our people grow in the freedom of the gospel. We need to help them understand that their identity does not waver and depend on whether they are married or single, have a job, make a lot of money, own or rent, have degrees, or have dropped out of school. The beauty of the gospel is that all those formerly “primary” identities are now put on the back burner. They no longer define us. Sure, we might use them to reach people relationally, or let them know we understand them, but they are no longer where we turn to get our most essential and fundamental joy.We need to make a deal with ourselves that we will keep preaching the gospel—when we feel successful and when we get defeated; when all the numbers are pointing up or down; when the groups are multiplying or shrinking. Click To Tweet
Christ sets his affection on us and offers it to us to bathe in, to drink from, and to be our only source of true and lasting joy!
Are you ready to help people grow in the gospel?
Are you ready to help them see that they are no longer to be identified by their sin?
Are you ready to help others fight the nagging temptation, addiction, or belief that wants to destroy them?
This is what the Spirit wants to do through your proclamation and application of the gospel. The gospel is the only way people are rescued. The gospel is the only way people grow. The gospel is sufficient for our every need.
Of course, there are other things to focus on in church planting. But the gospel should be the lens through which we view all things. Because in the end, there are some things that just don’t matter very much.
The church is not about how many people came.
The church is not about how well you preached.
The church is not about the size of your offering.
The church is not about the style of music you choose to use.
The church is not about your location.
The church is not about your small groups, missional communities, or whatever trendy thing you call them.
The church is about the Father and the reality that he is moving, active, present, and rescuing people out of the kingdom of darkness.
The church is about Jesus continuing to remind the powers of hell where they belong (under his dominion), and that they don’t have any property in his kingdom.
The church is about the Spirit empowering believers to be turned loose in a strategic area with the message of a king who loves his enemies and wants to make them his family.
We need to make a deal with ourselves that we will keep preaching the gospel—when we feel successful and when we get defeated; when all the numbers are pointing up or down; when the groups are multiplying or shrinking. If you are thinking about planting a church, you are going to need that gospel swagger. It’s not a boast in self, but in Christ. Click To Tweet
The gospel boldly reminds us of our truest identity that cannot be taken away. We cannot be snatched out of the hand of the Father. The Son is ruling and reigning over everything that could stand between his love and his chosen people. The Spirit is the down payment of the promise made. We can’t lose, and we can’t be lost.
When we are so free, so loose, and so confident that our God is going to be victorious, get all the glory, work all things together for our good, and move his church forward—then we are going to be bold and courageous.
If you are thinking about planting a church, you are going to need that gospel swagger. It’s not a boast in self, but in Christ. Jesus has worked, is working, and will continue working on our behalf. He’ll do so for his glory for eternity. We can walk with humble confidence in any situation, knowing that he is going to accomplish all that he has planned to do.
We cannot move on from this gospel. There is nothing better.