The Church Planter’s Righteousness

Posted: August 24, 2010 in Uncategorized

Many church planters jump into the endeavor of launching a new congregation out of anger.  They work in a church or have grown up in one that waters down the Gospel or focuses solely on the number of attendees without an intentional process of discipleship or adopts long irrelevant cultural mores as part of the faith itself (i.e., no Christian would ever drink, smoke or watch an R-rated movie).

I’ve heard many church planting gurus say that this is the wrong reason for planting but I don’t believe there is anything wrong with a wee bit of anger at a church that compromises “the narrow path.”  After all, Jesus seemed to have a few harsh words for such churches in the opening of his Book of Revelation.   If one cannot change from within then it’s not a bad idea to start a new church (as long as it really is not about the planter wanting to be “the decider” as George W. Bush would say).

The real danger is not anger at the church but the church planter’s righteous indignation morphing into self-righteousness.  It is easy to quickly become smug about being the “raw,” “authentic,” or “true church.” 

God’s congregation led by the new church planter may be closer to what Jesus envisioned but the planter can quickly be far from God thanks to his or her arrogance, which has no place within the Kingdom.  If nothing else, such a lofty opinion of self will eventually turn off the very people the planter hoped the new church would reach.

Church planters like myself need not only preach the Gospel to the unchurched and dechurched but also to themselves. 

“Raw” and “authentic” are good things for a church to be but even more vitally important is for the lead pastor to be humbled by the cross.  I know from painful personal experience that the only way to stop righteous indignation from becoming self-righteousness is to remember that all those who belong to Christ rely solely on His righteousness.

soli deo gloria.

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