My heart became hot within me. As I mused, the fire burned; then I spoke with my tongue: "O Lord, make me know my end and what is the measure of my days; let me know how fleeting I am!"

02 August 2007

Aren't you a little young for that?

I used to hate it when people asked me that question; most kids do because they have dreams bigger than their bodies - why else was I trying to make a basketball shot when I could barely lift the ball over my head? (No jokes about that being last week, now.) But there are some things that being young never disqualifies us for - like being in worship or helping mom and dad around the house.

Tomorrow morning I leave for a short (3 1/2 day) trip to Texas. One of Immanuel's founding families relocated to the College Station/Bryan area shortly before we began our first worship services last fall. As they've lived and worshipped and prayed in Texas, they began hoping God might be leading them to plant an RPCNA church in their new hometown. They've contacted the Midwest presbytery, who are intersted in investigating this new possibility; as a result, the presbytery has invited me to fly down for the weekend to minister to this family and talk about church planting stuff together.

This trip is part of God's answer to one of our prayers from the beginning of IRPC, that God might allow us to be used in planting other churches from the very beginning of our congregation's life; our desire is serious enough that we included church planting in our very first budget. To some this certainly seems counterintuitive - We aren't a mature church yet, why should we be extending ourselves to support a church plant in Texas? Isn't church planting something "old" churches do? Aren't we a little young?

Well, no. Because of the continuing force of the Great Commission, church planting is something every church should always have within their sights. We ought to seek and expect to see Great Commission-fulfilling in every part of the church's life. We ought to see our young people walking faithfully with Christ. We ought to see new people brought into the faith. We ought to see new churches planted. And we shouldn't wait for any of these. Many churches, especially in our denomination, are as small or smaller than we are; most have some sort of internal conflict which needs to be addressed (who doesn't?). But an outward focus - local outreach and wider church planting - will do something we never expect: it will help the local congregation to grow stronger. But even this isn't our ultimate motivation - we don't look outward to grow stronger internally (though this will happen). We look outward with the same motivation we seek holiness internally, to see the kingdom of Christ coming on earth as it is in heaven. We're never too young, or too old, for that.

If you're interested in reading more, here's a great article by Tim Keller on the why of church planting.


Elizabeth said...

You're going to Texas in August? Hahahahahahaha! Don't you dare come back here and complain about the 90 degree heat like everybody else around.

Karen (Scotland) said...

Amen! Build the Kingdom!