With Steve's desire to plant a church expressed and my willingness to embrace the new and unknown, we began to look at how people plant churches. Many denominations have their own methods of planting, but the place where we've been for 16 years doesn't have that growth model, so we needed to look beyond our comfort zone to find help.
After watching so many church doors shut during and as a result of the covid lockdown, it's refreshing to see there's been a significant uptick in people looking to plant churches these days. Steve and I began looking...ARC. Acts 29. Multiply. We Are Church. Orchard Group. Stadia. And more! So many options, each with its own focus and strengths.
One primary aspect of partnering with a church planting organization is to be able to clearly articulate how you understand essential elements of God's Truth. Who is God? How can people be saved? Did Jesus come to save everyone or only certain people?
We've also needed to express our interpretations on other issues - not necessarily essential beliefs, but still important to help vision-cast. What is the role of women in the church? How does discipleship happen? What is the role of a church leader?
Solidifying your foundational beliefs is no small thing.
On one hand, it becomes glaringly obvious the differing views among people who follow Jesus. On the other hand, it's beautiful to see the wide expression of Christ in this world - the many aspects of that collective "Body" we are all parts of.
This process of theological and doctrinal digging reinforces the saying - the more you know, the more you realize you don't know.
God reveals many things about Himself through the Bible, through creation, and through His Spirit. He promises that if we seek Him, we will find Him. The more we get to know Him, the more we will know of Him.
And yet we will never arrive at a place of complete understanding. As finite humans, we will never be able to fully comprehend an infinite God. We have the choice to make our best guesses and stand firmly on our own interpretations (which often isolates others who don't see the same way), or we can embrace the mystery and humbly admit we don't understand it all.
Frankly, I don't want to serve a god I can fully understand. That kind of god isn't worth serving.
I'd much rather serve God who invites me to dig deeper and who will always have more facets of Himself to reveal. He will never stop surprising me.
Yes, we can be confident of the essentials. And we can also still be surprised at His vastness.
Are you confident in your understanding of essential things? Are you willing to admit that there may be some mystery to the things of God?
I'd love to welcome you along for the journey as we've begun to explore what God has next for us. Continue the journey with us. Read Part 7 of When God Says "Go".