In the process of planting a church, there are three verses that I keep thinking about. These verses help keep me focused on what matters most, and they also keep me on my knees. Here they are:
“These men who have turned the world upside down have come here also” (Acts 17:6). This verse keeps me thinking big. The gospel changes the world upside down. Since the world has been turned upside down by sin, the gospel turns things back to the way they should be. Our goal in planting a church in Liberty Village is to bring the world-changing news of the gospel to the neighborhood. It’s not simply to plant a church; it’s to turn the community, even the city, upside down.
“Thus I make it my ambition to preach the gospel, not where Christ has already been named, lest I build on someone else’s foundation” (Romans 15:20). We had two criteria for picking a community in which to plant a church. First: we wanted a growing community. Second: we wanted a community where there are currently no churches. We are not starting a church to reach the already-churched. We are entering a community where Christ is not currently named, to tell people who have never heard about the gospel of Jesus Christ.
“And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20). I’d be completely overwhelmed apart from this promise. Christ has commissioned us to make disciples. He’s also promised us his presence and help. Since planting a church is way beyond my abilities, I keep coming back to Christ’s promise of his presence and enablement.
There are lots of other Scriptures I’ve been thinking about as we plant this church, but these are the three that have been on my mind the most. They form some of our bedrock convictions about what it means to plant a church.