Kingdom Minded Church Planting
Kingdom Minded Church Planting
By Dave Johnson, Grace Covenant in Chicago
My wife and I moved to urban Chicago a month ago as the first boots on the ground of a team of people who desire to see a church planted on the North side of the city. We have several other team members who are planning to join over the next few months but they are not here yet. Of course I am not going to wait on them to get started, so I have been making efforts to meet people and begin building relationships with my neighbors and people in the community.
I knew coming into this that it was not going to be easy to plant a church and it would take time to see lives changed by the gospel. However, now that I am here this reality has become crystal clear. The truth I keep reminding myself of is that God is going to build this church and not me and man have I seen Him working.
The coolest thing I have seen Him do since I arrived in Chicago was to put me around brothers who are here and are Kingdom minded. I have had a local pastor who planted 2 years ago invite my family and I to join them on Sunday mornings as we are getting started. I have had another pastor also invite us to attend while we are getting started and express his interest in partnering with us to reach the community since we are so close to each other. And the most impressive act from God has been my fellow Great Commission Baptist (SBC) planter who encouraged some of the members of his church who live in our target neighborhood to consider joining what we are doing. This kind of fellowship in the gospel is what is desperately needed to reach the urban centers of this world.
A Kingdom mindset focused on the partnering together for the sake of the gospel is worlds away from what has taken place in the past and sadly still the mindset of many pastors and planters today. I had one campus pastor of a church here in Chicago ask me why I was planting on the North side when there was more need in the South and the West of Chicago. Funny thing is his church is one of four or five that I have found who average 50 to 100 people in a community of about 200,000. This mentality seems to portray that they have got this area covered so you need to go somewhere else. Even if each of these churches were running a 1000 in membership they would barley be making a dent.
Paul understood that there are many layers to reaching people (1st Cor. 3:5-15). We are coworkers in God’s field and we need to start acting like it. We have to ask ourselves if we are seeking the spread of the gospel or are we just trying to do it better than the next guy. We need to repent of trying to build our kingdom and ask for God to show us ways that we can partner with others to build His. It is easy to let this idolatry slip in and I am grateful to God that He has placed me among brothers here in Chicago who want to work together to spread the good news of Jesus.
As pastors and planters I believe we need to communicate this well to those God has placed under our care. Reaching the place where you live is the one of the best ways to live a missional life. If we are driving across town to go gather with a church family how effective will that be for my neighbors. Is there a church family that meets closer or is in need of some strong believers? We need to be willing to give generously with our time, money, and people to see the Kingdom of God expand.