How and Why to Start a Church
I decided to blog parts of an email I just sent to my wife. When I email my wife, by the way, the idea is that she can take time to digest what’s going on inside of me and it allows me time to compose my thoughts instead of blurting them in her face with my nasty style. Without further adieu, here are my thoughts at this interesting juncture:
Here are my thoughts:
1. God’s word is the truth. If there are any questions at all, the Bible is the final judge and decision maker – not us, not a man, not a church, not a movie, etc.
2. We, as a family, should be seeking ‘good theology’. There is nothing stopping us from studying the same theology (and more) than the stuff the pastors study in theology school. In fact, the Bible commands it. We should be hungering meat, not milk. The leaders even more.
3. Our motive should *not* be to ‘invent the newest and best church’: this is not about us. It’s about God. This is God’s bride, and we should not be doing this for any other reason than for his glory. Any other reason is selfish and we should just sit in the pews of our own churches now if that’s our reason. Here is a great little blog I found on this topic: http://pastors.com/do-we-really-need-more-churches/
4. Our motive *should* be:
-for God’s glory
-to know God more
-for our marriage to be restored and built on the rock
-for our children to be restored and built on the rock
-to find out who we really are (in Christ)
-to express our love towards God
-to experience the richness of this thing called ‘the body of Christ’
-to reach the lost
-to feed the poor
-to clothe the cold
-did I miss any?
5. We should not be hungering after ‘plans and programs’.
While cleaning up the equipment with Pastor, it was quite interesting. He never said anything like “Wow, I’m excited that God is doing something so big inside of you!” or “Can you help me understand what God is doing in you?” In fact, he didn’t mention at all the topic of our plan to ‘move on’. Finally during the silence I said “So, I guess you might be wondering about our decision to stop attending?” At that point, his only comment, even though we sent a long letter with our heartfelt position was this “I didn’t see any plan in your letter which concerns me.” I wanted to say “Didn’t you read the part about ‘wanting to know Jesus more’ and ‘wanted to develop relationships deeper’, etc? Is that not a plan? So, what I learned at that moment is that the ‘plan’ means nothing more than “going to a regular weekly meeting at a set location with a set group of believers with a set understanding about the Bible.” I have no problem with set meetings but if those rigid things start to put God into a ‘box’ I can’t do it anymore. I continually think about the Pharisees. They did all the plans perfectly! They did long prayers, perfectly honoured the sabbath, washed their hands, didn’t eat with gentiles, etc, etc. But they also crucified Jesus. Jesus called them in Revelation ‘the synagogue of Satan’. I see how dangerous this ‘addiction to plans’ can be. They start to replace true righteousness with ‘religious righteousness’. They start to replace ‘faith’ with ‘works’. And it’s incredibly dangerous. Instantly I translated his comment about ‘plan’ and gave him the answer he wanted to hear as follows: “We have not been church shopping if you are wondering.” But, he seems to think that we would be ‘safer’ if we were in the lifeboat of a Sunday church program, than starting an adventure on our own. But this led me to think about the early church. There was no ‘program’ for them to plug into. They WERE the church. Wherever they went, there was the church. And growth was also occurring. Anyway, this is a long topic, but the point is that we *cannot* let a program make us feel righteous, but we also should not let a ‘set meeting’ make us feel bad. Showing up to work every monday morning at 9am is a good thing. Rising at 5am with an alarm clock to read the Bible is a good thing. Habits are good. In summary: whatever we do cannot be based on works but must be based on HIM – and if no fruit is growing on the tree – we cut it down and start again.
6. We should base everything we do on a Godly order of priorities. This is my understanding of the order:
1. individual <–> God
2. man <–> wife
3. parents <–> children
4. family <–> family of God (church)
5. church <–> lost
So, if the marriage isn’t good (#2) then items 3, 4, and 5 will suffer. How do we fix the marriage and grow the marriage? by focusing first on #1 – our individual relationship (s) with God. From there, we will be motivated to love our spouse and build our marriage into a glorious thing. Don’t forget that the marriage is a mysterious representation of the Body of Christ (Bride of Christ). God is very interested in our marriage. Another example would be that until we are solid as the family of God (#4) then we should not be focused primarily on reaching out to the lost. I ‘might’ be wrong here, but these are my first gut feelings on the matter.
And, so, to answer Pastor’s very precise question with a precise answer, I believe that our ‘plan’ for the first meeting is to discuss the ‘plan’ above! haha
Let me know what you think, and if you agree, you could share this with the other couple’s and this will form our first discussion topic.
Remember: This last move of God will *not* have a face or a name, and no credit will go to man. God Himself will get all the glory.