There is a laundry list of reasons why the church of Jesus must have a roaring conviction for the planting of more churches, including (but not limited to) the following:
- Church Planting is the main catalyst for God’s global redemptive mission
- Church planting is the main strategy for God’s great commission.
- Church planting is the main means for making disciples.
- Church planting is the main avenue for the redeeming and reshaping of culture.
- Church planting is the most effective plan of action for evangelism.
- Church planting is the best way to reach lost people, neighborhoods, cities, and nations for Christ.
- Church planting is necessary to remedy an otherwise global church decay.
We plant churches for one singular reason: the glory of God!
As wonderful as these reasons are, there is another that stands above them all. We plant churches for one singular reason: the glory of God! Every other reason, however important it may be, is merely a distant second.
Trying to grasp and fully comprehend God’s glory is a difficult task. A helpful starting point is to place God’s glory in the context of His holiness. John Piper provides helpful insight on this connection:
“The holiness of God is his being in a class by himself in his infinite perfections, infinite greatness and infinite worth. Isaiah 6:3 says that ‘angels are crying: Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God almighty, the whole earth is full of his glory.’ Therefore, the glory of God is the manifest beauty of his holiness. It is the going public of his holiness. It is the way he puts his holiness on display for people to apprehend.”
We plant churches because it puts God and His matchless perfection, greatness, and beauty on display.
We plant churches because it puts God and His matchless perfection, greatness, and beauty on display. This is the heartbeat of church planting! This is what Paul presents in his letter to the Ephesians church. Over a span of twelve verses (1:6; 12; 14), Paul makes one statement three times: “to the praise of His glory.”
Why is this statement the focal point of this passage? And why is it the overarching motivation behind planting churches? There are three compelling arguments:
1. We Lack Nothing To The Praise Of His Glory (v3-11)
We plant churches to the praise of God’s glory so that people can taste, see, know, and experience every spiritual blessing!
Verse three begins in this way: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ…” The focal point is worship (“blessed be” – ascribing praise). Glorifying God comes down to worship. If church planting is the greatest means for displaying God’s glory to the world, then church planting is a means to worship.
So why exactly would we want to worship the Father? Because He has given us His Son (“who has blessed us in Christ…”), who in turn has given us “every spiritual blessing.” What does this mean? Most significantly, that we lack nothing in the realm that matters most. What does it mean to possess every spiritual blessing? Verses 4-11 reveal the answer:
- “He chose us before the foundation of the world…” Apart from anything we do, He selected us!
- “That we should be holy and blameless before Him.” In God’s eyes, we are now who Christ is, through what he accomplished!
- “In love he predestined us for adoption as sons…” Once unwanted orphans, we are now “Beloved” sons and daughters!
- “In him we have redemption through his blood…” We have been bought at a great price!
- In him we have “the forgiveness of our trespasses…” The sinful slate has been wiped clean!
- This is all “according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us…” We are rich in the most profound sense!
- “Making known to us the mystery of his will…purpose…plan…” We are a part of God’s not-so-mysterious plan!
- “To unite all things in him…” Christ made it possible for man to coexist with God!
- “In him we have obtained an inheritance…” We are spoiled rich kids who don’t quite know how good we have it!
2. We Place Our Hope Solely In Christ To The Praise Of His Glory (verse 12)
We plant churches to the praise of God’s glory because there is overwhelming evidence for why Christ is the supremely better hope! Church planting dives straight into the middle of culture and attacks the idea of “the pursuit of happiness” head on in order to say, “there is something better, something far better than what you are chasing, than what you are placing all of your hopes and dreams in.”
This idea is what is presented in v. 12: “so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the the praise of his glory.”
To hope in Christ is an act of worship; we say in this moment, “I am not in control, and neither are the things that grab the affections of my heart.” In Christ, our hope is built upon a foundation that places Him as the ruler over our lives. Since we are terrible kings, this is really good news!
3. We Are Secure And Will Endure To The Praise Of His Glory (verses 13-14)
We plant churches to the praise of His glory because we desire for many more people to be brought to faith through the gospel, giving them security and endurance for this life and the life to come!
Planting confronts culture by being the dominant dispenser of the word of truth, which is the gospel of salvation.
Church planting also confronts culture head on by being the dominant dispenser of “the word of truth,” which is the “gospel of salvation.” The grace of Jesus has led, is leading, and will continue to lead so many to “believe in him.” (v. 13).
Church planting ultimately gives us more of what we need the most: God.
At the same time, this gospel secures the person’s relationship with God through “the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance…” and giving us the ability to endure “until we acquire possession of it…” (vv. 13-14).
Simply put, church planting ultimately gives us more of what we need the most: God. And when His glory is our aim (especially in church planting), there isn’t much that can get in the way of lost men, women, and children experiencing God’s glory!
Aaron is the Lead Pastor of Aletheia Church in Tampa, FL. He also serves as the Acts 29 Area Lead for Tampa/St. Petersburg Area in the US Southeast Network. Aaron and Ashlee have been married since May 20, 2005. They have four children: Drew (6.16.2007), Aaden (10.8.2008-11.15.2008), Asher (2.20.2010), and Adelee (5.29.2012). Contact Aaron at firstname.lastname@example.org