I pastor an ordinary church in an extraordinary part of the world. My city, Ras Al Khaimah, is in the United Arab Emirates. It’s extraordinary because it’s situated near the tip of the Arabian Peninsula, and five years ago the ruling Sheikh granted land for an evangelical church building here.
Yet, the church that’s been planted here is ordinary. Hopefully, what marks our church is what would mark any faithful church in any part of the world.
So if you’ve come to this article looking for a new technique or tips on how to develop and strengthen your brand, you’ll be disappointed. Because the church is the demonstration of the wisdom of God, we must be careful that our labors to pursue its growth and health don’t derive from man’s wisdom but God’s. God-centered ends are accomplished by God-given means.
Therefore, church planter, before you do anything else, you must prioritize three things: patience, prayer, and preaching.
Among the many images we find in Scripture for the work of ministry, one common principle is the necessity of patience in the work of the kingdom. Think of the farmer sowing his seed (Mark 4:14; James 5:7).
From the beginning, Christians have always been marked out as a waiting people, as many of our fathers “died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar” (Heb. 11:13). We serve the God who sees the end from the beginning, who gets particular glory by taking what seems small and unimpressive to this world and slowly growing it into something astonishing, that which can only be explained by his power (Zech. 4:10; Matt. 13:31–32). Among other things, the drama of redemptive history will definitively prove that God was incredibly patient both with his creatures and in his great work of salvation.
As we think about church planting, we must refuse to move quickly when our God is pleased to move slowly. While it may not fit with the zeitgeist of our culture and times, we trust deep, lasting change that’s rooted in the gospel doesn’t happen overnight. Yes, our God grants breakthroughs and revivals. But for those moments to be genuine and lasting, they must come on God’s terms and by his ways.
Pastoral patience demands we labor by faith, trusting that our God knows how to spread and protect the gospel better than we do. For example, when a pastor friend of mine began laboring in his new church, the congregation wasn’t yet ready to receive the Bible’s teaching on elders. Rather than rush the church toward where they “needed” to be, he waited patiently—for ten years! He knew it would be wrong to split the church over this issue, so he led by teaching and praying until the church was ready. Now that church is thriving under their leadership and bearing much fruit.
Church planters, prioritize patience.
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SOURCE: 9 Marks