I have recently had conversations with several people about church planting. The conversations range from an interest in the history of ReCAST to a few guys considering launching out and planting a church. But I have found that one piece of advice has become almost a mantra when I encounter someone considering church planting: “Don’t plant angry!”
The church in America already has a PR problem relating to anger. Often the church is primarily known for what it is against. And there is a significant pull for many young ministers who become disillusioned with the state of affairs in churches today to go out and start their own church. And their main motivation is to NOT be like that old church!
If this is the way that we begin to plant new churches, we will find ourselves reacting instead of being intentional. I have met young pastors who are downright angry about established traditions and rituals in past churches they have been a part of and that is not a healthy platform when starting a new gathering of Christians.
But this problem does not only effect pastors and church planters. Each one of us has a responsibility to consider if our lives are primarily pointing toward what we are against or what we are for. Don’t hear me saying that there is nothing that I am against. Just like everyone, I have a laundry list of things I am against, but I would rather be known as a pastor that is FOR the Word of God . . . is FOR the Gospel of Jesus Christ . . . is FOR the Glory of Jesus in all things . . . is FOR serving the community . . . is FOR loving others . . . is FOR humility . . . is FOR the worship of God through all avenues of life.
Again, I am not saying that we roll over and play dead in our personal lives. Obviously there will be times when the thing we are FOR is infringed upon by others, but when it comes down to planting churches or talking with friends, neighbors and coworkers, do we let them know what we are against instead of what we are FOR? We have the most awesome, joy-giving message in the world, and yet I fear that many Christians are known more for what they are against. Ironically, the issue is the same for both the newer churches and the more traditional conservative churches. The older churches are against drinking alcohol, smoking, dancing, contemporary music, casual attire, etc. And the newer churches are against organs, suits, and churches that oppose drinking, smoking and dancing. Both convey the same message to the world of a Christianity defined by the things we are against.
In the end, I am convinced that there is one unifying theme that every church and person that calls themselves a Christian must be FOR: the gospel of Jesus Christ. That Jesus died for our sins and rose again three days later is the centerpiece of the Christian faith. It is faith in this that is the wellspring of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. What are you FOR?