I’m a big advocate for giving through the local church. Beyond that, I try and support other causes and ministries that are important to me. With our giving we can build wells for people without water, we can advocate for modern day slaves, we can feed hungry children, we can translate the Bible, etc.
But there’s one group of people that need our faithful support even more than others. They need it because they are the ones who are building the wells, rescuing slaves, and translating the Bible. They are the ones who are sharing the gospel with those who have not heard.
Who am I talking about? Missionaries.
I’ve been thinking about the benefits of sponsoring missionaries recently because I’ve been sending out some fundraising letters of my own. I’m a church planter in Queens and I rely on the prayers and gifts of others to bring the gospel to a place that has very few gospel-centered churches.
As William Carey said to his financial supporters, “I’ll go down into the mine, if you’ll hold the ropes.”
But what’s in it for those who give? What’s in it for those who hold the ropes?
Starting a church is like starting a business.
The only difference is that in this “business” the “business partners” won’t be getting a financial return; the “employees” pay (tithe) the company for the privilege of working for free; “customers” are asked to deny themselves, take up their cross, and follow Jesus; and the “product” is a message that is offensive to 90% of the people who hear it.
That’s why I’ve come to a few conclusions about what it takes to start a church:
- It takes an act of God to start a church.
- That act of God always involves the people of God.
- It’s up to God to get the right people in the right places at the right time.
- God mobilizes some people to go down into the mine and some people to hold the ropes.
An Act of God
Our journey to start churches in New York City proves that it takes an act of God to start a church.
Though I lived for four years on full-time support as a church planter in Boston, I am far from an expert on this topic.
Though I had people on my prayer team from dozens of countries and all over the US, I am far from an expert on this topic.
Though I helped plant a church in Boston, I feel I made more mistakes than successes.
I am no expert here!!!
On the other hand, I know good talent when I see it and I want to highlight a blog of some friends of mine who I think are starting their journey to plant churches well.
The Bennett’s Journey to Paris
My friends Ryan and Erin Bennett are partnering with World Team to plant churches in Paris, France. They have been blogging about their journey, sending partnership letters, and recruiting prayer partners.
Here are a few things they are doing well:
1. They live now the way they hope to live then
Right now, Ryan and Erin are in the US working jobs, raising support, praying, studying, and more importantly, practicing obedience to God. Ryan organizes the small groups at his local church and has a vision to see those groups mature and multiply in a context similar to the one he and Erin will be in in Paris. They both are active in outreach through their local church and are a part of a prayer counseling team at their church. If you want to be successful at church planting, you need to be “faithful in a few things…” now.