- Jim Townsley
- May 7, 2013
This slogan from a major car company is a catchy phrase. As slogans go it may or may not have merit, but it sounds good and it may entice customers to buy their product. In our commercial society the church can easily be affected by the "be the biggest and best" philosophy of the world. However, the church is a not a commercial business. The church is a living organization instituted by Christ and built upon the doctrine and faith of the Apostles and prophets.
Young preachers are being bombarded by slick advertising promoting the newest and best way to increase the church's attendance. Everyone has "a better idea." Seminars, books, podcasts, and special meetings are being promoted as the way to make church building easier, faster, and bigger. In the end this worldly philosophy produces emptiness, failure, and compromise.
Perhaps it is time for "a better idea." The better idea is to get back to the New Testament pattern. Following the Bible has been substituted by programs, advertising, and worldly methods. There is no easy way to start and build churches, however there is a biblical way that honors the Lord. It is imperative to sort through the trends of the day and weigh each one by the Holy Bible. If it is without biblical support it must be rejected. The simple truths of God are unchangeable and we should never discard them or exchange them to pursue a passing trend.
Witnessing to every soul in our community is God's clear plan. Witnessing must be done in person, finding people where they are and giving them a clear presentation of the gospel. No matter how receptive our community may be it remains as God's plan to use His servants to reach the lost. For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. 1 Corinthians 1:21. There is no substitute for one on one witnessing to souls and giving the gospel message.
Starting and building churches requires hard work and long hours. There is no substitute for hard work. Though hard work is required, prayer is equally needed. Growth cannot always be measured by our work ethic. Sometimes we can labor tirelessly with little results. At the point we are exhausted and prepared to quit God intervenes with His blessings to remind us that it is He that builds His church. . . . Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts. Zechariah 4:6. "The measure of a man's success is measured by the extent of God's control in his life."
When Jesus started the church he chose twelve disciples. These men followed, watched, and learned from the Savior. Building a church requires winning men and women and training them to be leaders. Discipleship is a key element in fulfilling the great commission. Training new believers is hard work and time consuming, but it is and always has been God's plan.
Finally, an important element of church planting is time. It requires time to build a church. It has been revealed that the single most important ingredient to building a strong church is the longevity of the pastor. This means a commitment to faithfulness and steadfastness is needed. There will be times of wonderful blessing, but there will also be times of loneliness and trials. Surviving these difficult times and remaining faithful will result in the blessings of God. When is the last time you heard of a conference teaching the importance of trials? I have never heard of one.
Times may change but the Word of God remains unchanged. Let's not stray from God's clear plan of church building. Let's emphasize having more of the same not more of something new.