Love for Christ that is devoted to feeding and tending our Master’s sheep–this was the final lesson for Jesus’s church planting class. Would that we would pay attention. Loving, feeding, and tending the vulnerable prize of Jesus’s passion. This is not the work of entrepreneurs, it is the work of pastors.
Greetings to you in the precious name of our Lord, King, and friend, Jesus Christ. It is my earnest hope that you find yourself in places of refreshment at the mere mention of his name. Besides, is there anyone in whose presence is more joy? I trust not. And to consider that he prays for you by name–its all so wonderful. Our work is hard, but it lightens a bit when we remember such things.
I wanted to write a few lines to you in an effort to reorient your work. We are pressed on every side—danger from without in the schemes of the devil and danger from within with the passions of the flesh. To be sure, we are also in danger from without in the ways we are so tempted to conform to the patterns of the world (Rom. 12:2). One of those patterns we are tempted to conform to as pastors is to see ourselves, or our work, as entrepreneurs.
The Trade of the World
The harvest is plentiful but the laborers are few. More than 27,000 people will die today in China. Tragically, most of them without Christ. How many thousands are there outside your window that live with a Christless future? Too many. The need is great, but the answer, brother, is not found in speed, strategy, or charisma as the great business leaders of our day do. Jesus’s kingdom is not of this world (John 18:36).
Planting by Pastoring rejects the entrepreneurial mindset of church planting and invites leaders to adopt a far more biblical view of the church to cultivate a community that can “treasure Christ together.”
The world endeavors to appeal to the sensualities of humanity. Sights, sounds, smells, and feels are the trade of the world. They dole it out in bunches so as to draw the masses in and keep them for profit. We might understand why their white board sessions and slick marketing campaigns combined with charismatic leaders and flashy services would garner attention. We might understand how the product could be reproducible–“scale” they call it.
When the Fortune 500 turns its pleasant gaze towards these multiplying businesses, it’s easy to consider how we in the church might learn from them. After all, we do believe in common grace, don’t we? Imagine pastors that were more like Musk, musicians that were more swift than Swift? Consider the appeal of church leaders with charisma like Obama?
No, no, dear brother. This is our Father’s world, but this is not our Father’s way. Our message is not a product to be freshly packaged but a message to be carefully stewarded. The core of our message is foolishness and stumbling blocks to the appetites of the world (1 Cor. 1:23).