Church planting -- that buzz word found nowhere in the Bible. But neither do we see existing churches not multiplying in the Bible, except when God is rebuking those churches. So it's fair to say every church should be striving to make disciples and gather them into a local church. That local church might be one that exists, or it may need to be a new church. Church planting is the phrase that equates to making disciples and gathering them into a new church.
It's hard to make disciples and bring them into a healthy, vibrant, robust existing church that already has all the great stuff that helps believers thrive in the Christian life. It's even harder to do so in a church-planting context. I know because I've been in both settings.
But I'm not alone at Redeeming Life. Our faithful church members are church planters just as much as our pastors. From the first night in my living room when we filled ten folding chairs to discuss what it means to make disciples to the faith-family today, we've been in this thing together. I've watched our core team of disciple-making church planters grow and mature. I've watched more join the team. And I've seen the hand of God working in and through the group to advance the Kingdom of the Lord and sow gospel seeds.
It's not easy. Disciple-making in Salt Lake takes grit and spit and fortitude and steadfastness and presaveriance and more faith that we think we have. It takes courage, even on the bad days.
We have some remarkable missionaries at Redeeming Life. Some have left their homes and friends to move deep into the West Side communities we are called to reach. Some have committed to stay right here for the sake of the gospel, even when it's so attractive to go elsewhere. Some drive long distances.
This family faithfully gives enormous amounts of their time talent and resources. They sacrifice to serve. They strive to love one another. And they pray their faces off, hoping to see God redeem Salt Lake by the power of his gospel.
Church planting is hard work, but the Redeeming Life faith family is not afraid of work. They dig in and get their hands dirty. They have spiritual and physical callouses, sometimes even blisters for the cause of the gospel. At times, they are tired, but it's that rewarding tired after a hard day's labor.
Why do they do it? Why do they go without the best programs and preaching, the most beautiful church building and the best show on Sunday? What could make them love minimal men's and women's ministries or the youth group with a small handful of youth? Why would they love a cash-strapped church that doesn't have the best to offer? What's in it for them?
I believe they do it because they love the Lord and want to join Jesus in his mission to seek and save the lost. They do it because they don't want to live a life wasted. They do it because they want to follow the Apostle Paul as he followed Christ. They do it because they love the people of the West Side. They love Rose Park, Fair Park, Glendale, Foxboro and the surrounding area. I believe they do it because they want to grow closer to Jesus and this is how he's called them to do just that. They do it because they are missionary disciple-makers.
I love my Redeeming Life faith-family. I am proud of them and love to boast about their faithfulness. I'm thankful to be among such an excellent band of church-planting disciple-makers! Thank you Redeeming Life.
For the Kingdom!