Church Planting Lesson #1

I'm a couple of weeks into this journey of planting a new church. I've been learning a ton so far. I'm reading a lot, listening to a lot of podcasts, and asking lots of questions to people who have gone down similar roads before me. I'm trying to soak in as much as I possibly can. At the same time, I'm really trying to lean in to the Holy Spirit and be led by Him throughout this process. I've been reading a lot of the New Testament epistles lately because many of them are essentially letters to new churches from an expert church planter (the Apostle Paul).

Earlier this week I read through Ephesians from beginning to end. It's not very long, only six chapters. But I took about an hour and a half to read through the whole thing. I worked through it slowly, trying to let the words sink in. It was a really encouraging read. If you've never read through a book of the bible from cover to cover in one sitting, I'd highly recommend it. That's actually the way most of these letters were intended to be read. So as I was coming to the very end of the letter, right after Paul talks about wearing the armor of God, I came across a prayer request from Paul that I never really paid much attention to before. He says, "Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should."

I've probably read that passage of scripture hundreds of times in my life. But this time it struck me in a new way. Paul is writing this letter as a prisoner in Rome, and the only prayer request he makes on his own behalf comes here at the end of the epistle. He doesn't ask them to pray that God would find a way to set him free. He doesn't ask them to pray for his safety as a prisoner. He asks them to pray that whenever he speaks, God would give him the words to speak and to speak them fearlessly. He repeats himself at the end of verse 20, "Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should." 

The first big lesson I've learned so far is that if you want to be a church planter, you have to develop some fearlessness. Everything I do right now is intimidating to me. I am constantly putting myself in uncomfortable situations. Not one day has gone by that has been easy or routine. If I'm being honest, most of my day-to-day prayer requests have been that God would make this easier. That is until I read Paul's prayer at the end of Ephesians 6. It was as if God was speaking to me and saying, "Instead of asking me to make this easier, why don't you ask me to make you more fearless?"

So that's been my prayer this week. I'm asking you to pray for me as well, that God would give me the words to speak, and that I would fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, that I would declare it fearlessly, as I should.

What about you? Where do you need to stop asking God to make it easier on you, and instead ask him to make you more fearless?


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