Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Are you defined by what you are against?

One valuable lesson I've learned over the last year or so that is proving to be extremely helpful in church planting is: Don't define yourself by what you are against (or who might be against you). I've talked to too many church planters and pastors who now bemoan that they once tried to build their church and shape their own pastoral ministry by what they disagreed with. They made a mental list of what they didn't like, who they didn't like, and what they thought was done poorly and used that as sort of a reverse aim. These churches often come undone and are unsustainable. Why? Because we ought to be shaped by Christ. If your bar is set at being different (i.e. "better") than someone else or some other church then your standard is still fixed on fallen man.

Paul wrote in Colossians 3:1-2, "If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth."

When questioned about why you do a certain thing that might be different than many others be ready to explain Biblically why you do it. Your argument for why shouldn't begin with "Because what they are doing is wrong". Let the Bible do the talking. You will still rub some the wrong way and offend even if you speak "truth in love" but let the offense be clearly based on your convictions about God's Word and do not give the impression that it is just a matter of preference or personal opinion. Define yourself, your ministry, and your church by Christ. Our aim must always be to exalt Christ over man.

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