In 2004, I followed God's call to plant a church. My husband and I were sent to the most extensive and intensive testing ever. Our district sent us to a Church Planter's Assessment in Kansas City. We had to do various personality profiles and spiritual gifts tests in advance. Once we were there, we were required to participate in group exercises with other potential planters. All the while, we were being observed and evaluated on our leadership skills, our marriage relationship, our ability to communicate, preach, lead a group of people. It was intense. But, then, so is church planting!
This was an important process. The Church of the Nazarene wanted to be certain that they were investing in the right person for this work. At the end of the assessment, they interviewed each couple. We were either approved as planters, put on hold, or denied. I was approved as gifted and equipped to plant a church. And so the journey began.
I have to say that even though I had the gifts and graces deemed necessary for planting a church, it was still a difficult road to pave. It was certainly not a task for someone who did not have the right gift mix or leadership skills.
There are certain gifts that are important in leading and growing a church. Then there are other gifts which we, as pastors, planters, church leaders do not have. These gifts are equally important in building a church.
"God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be...those parts of the body that seem weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has combined the members of the body and has given greater honor to the parts that lacked it...(1Cor. 12:18,22-25)."
It takes every one of us to accomplish the work that God has set before us as the body of Christ. Every. Single. Person. is of great importance! This was ever so evident as we began to birth this baby church.
- Have you discovered your area of ministry within the body of Christ?
- Are you using your gifts and talents for God in the place He has called you?
- Or are you just a floater? Drifting along? Church-hopping? Never committing? Complaining about how the church doesn't meet your needs?
Friend, one of the greatest disappointments my husband and I faced as church planters was the noncommittal "Christian" who made empty promises and wasted their God-given potential. They refused to use their gifts to help build the body of Christ. These same people were overly critical of church, dissatisfied with their lives, and wondering why God didn't answer prayer. They could not find a church that "filled their need".
I pray you are not one of those people. If you feel convicted in reading this, will you take some time to really come before God and apologize? Ask His forgiveness for insulting His precious Bride, the Church. Earnestly pray and seek to know where and how you can be God's answer to the problem, rather than part of the problem.
Let's all pray for every member of the church today, that each of us will fully commit our lives to Christ, as he has fully committed himself to us, in this love relationship. Pray for our pastors and leaders, that God will renew their strength and vision. This is God's promise:
"If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land (2Chr. 7:14)."