- Jim Townsley
- Apr 2, 2014
With today's technology preachers are bombarded with the newest approach or the newest method of church planting. Planning a new church plant involves considerable research and organization, but the best of plans may fall short without the blessing of God. I believe there are some methods that are better than others and that people can be assembled if enough time and money are spent. But, the real work of converting souls and changing lives requires the intervention of God. Without God's blessing no real work will be accomplished.
A carefully study of the book of Acts will reveal there was a common denominator of every successful church plant: the power of the Holy Spirit. When the church at Antioch sent forth Paul and Barnabas on their church planting journey Scripture states they did so through the Holy Spirit. We are told that Peter was filled with the Holy Spirit as he preached at the feast of Pentecost. He had no other instruction than to wait for the enduement of power from the Holy Spirit. Peter had no other methods, just the power of the Holy Spirit. Continually through the book of Acts we discover this one thread woven throughout church planting was the fullness of the Holy Spirit.
I do not advocate irresponsibility when it comes to planning and organizing a church. God places no premium on ignorance or laziness. However, a lasting work of God requires the fullness of the Holy Spirit and the intervention of God. Much time must be given to prayer and seeking the power of God. Without the power of God the work is comparable to mills with no power, an engine with no gas, or clouds without rain.Accompanying the modern marvels of technology comes a danger of substituting organization and administration for the power of God. If a church is on the cutting edge of societal change, but is missing the power of God, that ministry is a failure.
A church without the power of God will be filled with people who live in the flesh. A fleshly church is never a spiritual church. Though there is not extensive instruction how to be filled with the Spirit, there is clearly the command to do so. "And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;" - Ephesians 5:18 This simple truth of the Spirit filled life is just not appealing to the flesh. I am convinced God not only allows trials to come into our lives, but actually arranges them. A. W. Tozer stated, "God cannot use a man greatly until he first wounds him deeply." Paul stated, "I die daily." So must every preacher learn the spiritual value of death to self and life in the Spirit. It is through the troubles and trials of the ministry that makes the man, "a man of God."
Too many preachers seek an easier way or a more controlling way to plant churches. But, being Spirit filled is a primary requirement for doing God's work. When a preacher is filled with the Spirit of God setbacks become stepping stones to fulfill God's plan. Weakness becomes a strength rather than a liability. Hard work becomes dependent on God providing the necessary health needed to adhere to the strenuous schedule of church planting. Being Spirit filled means a man is not filled with himself but is filled with God. If a preacher has no money, no supporting churches, no computer, no plans other than the fullness of the Holy Spirit he could build a great church for God. But, if a man had great resources of money, church support, as well as great plans and organization, but did not have the fullness of the Holy Spirit, his work will ultimately be a failure. No true great work of God can be done without His power.
Often I receive flyers advertizing some new method or teaching that will revolutionize church planting. When is the last time you received a flyer promoting the truth of starting churches by the Power of the Holy Spirit? We must never forget the words of our Savior when He stated, "I will build my church." One plants, another waters, but God gives the increase!