To the person who said that “you don’t have to be a pastor or an elder to plant a church” I’d offer the same response – “If you are the one being sent to plant the church, then you already are the pastor/elder you need to be.”
Monday, October 29, 2012
WHO NEEDS AN APOSTLE?
Someone once told me that their friends were discouraging them from starting a house church in their community. The reason? Because this person didn’t have an Apostle to help them oversee the church.
The other day I received a Tweet from someone who said, “You don’t have to be a pastor or an elder to plant a church in your community.”
I’d like to weigh in on these two statements if you’ll indulge me.
When my wife and I stepped down from our on-staff church positions to plant a church in our own home, we heard similar things from well-meaning people who said:
“You don’t have any spiritual covering.”
“You can’t support the Five Fold Ministry”
And my absolute favorite, “You’re not following a Biblical model.”
Here’s the deal. If God is legitimately calling you to plant a church in your community, then you are the apostle He is sending. The word “apostle” means “sent ones”. Therefore, if God has spoken to you about leaving to plant a church, you are a “sent one.” End of story.
Now, first of all, the statement makes no real sense because, according to the New Testament, an elder doesn’t plant a church. Nor does a pastor. Elders are the ones who do the work of a pastor (“shepherd”) in the Body of Christ, and by definition an elder/pastor doesn’t plant churches. However, since we have a very Americanized view of Christianity today, we wrongly assume that pastors (and only pastors) start and lead churches.
So, when most people use the term “Pastor” what they really mean is, “Leader” and usually that spills over into the function of an Apostle, an Elder, an Evangelist, and a Prophet, even though that’s not what the Bible teaches us.
So, when I say “you already are the pastor/elder” what I mean is, “You’re the one God is calling so don’t worry about the labels.”
At the end of the day, the only person you need to please, or to answer to, is God. Is He calling you to step out and start a church in your community? Then do it. Don’t listen to what anyone else tells you. Don’t get bogged down in what this author or that blogger tells you to do, or how to do it (even if it’s me), because if God is calling you then He will lead you every step of the way. Whatever you do, don’t settle for what someone else’s vision looks like, only do exactly what God calls you to do and keep your eyes on Him.
He will build His church. Not you. Not me. Jesus will build the Church (people of God) who are submitted to Him and committed to His Kingdom.
As you step out in faith, God will draw into your fellowship the missing people you need, with the necessary gifts, to build up the Body as He wants it to be. It's not your job to make anything happen, only to be obedient and to step out in faith.