As you read through the book of Acts (in the New Testament) and several of the epistles (letters – mostly from the apostle, Paul, that are also in the N.T.) you see a familiar pattern with Paul. He planted terrific churches but didn’t stay long. He was a true church planter, an entrepreneur, an owner, and somewhat of a parent to all these baby churches yet he was able to do this from afar. So who better qualified to set these churches up for success upon his departure?
So, since no one understood the early Christian church like the apostle Paul did, what important lessons can we learn for success from this great Christian leader?
Today I want to give you one only—however, it might just be the single most important lesson of them all.
Here it is…
* You’ve got to determine (for yourself first) whether the people involved in the church (or church plant) are more like parents or more like baby-sitters.
Think about this for a moment. What are some of the important differences?
- Parents absolutely love their children (most of the time)—baby-sitters are getting paid.
- Parents will do and say the tough things in order to develop the child into a godly young man or woman. Baby-sitters don’t have that authority or even credibility and they don’t want it either.
- Parents are committed for years and years—the long haul. Baby-sitters are committed for a few hours.
- Parents have a vision for how they hope and pray their kids will turn out. Baby-sitters don’t even mess with this.
- Parents will hopefully live what they say. Baby-sitters just have to be nice for a couple hours.
- Parents are committed to raising their kids come what may, the good the bad and the ugly. Baby-sitters are committed to making sure the kids have pizza to eat and a movie in the VCR.
Now that church planting has seen a steady resurgence for the last 25 years, we are once again able to take a look at what factors seem to be present in the ones that make it. And factor number 1 is consistently the same—how committed is that leader going to be to the vision God has given Him? Will he treat this young and growing church like his own child or will he treat it more like a group of people he is baby-sitting in order to get a paycheck?
Owner or hireling? Where does this concept come from? Where did Paul get it?
Turns out he got it from Jesus,
John 10:12–13, “He who is a hired hand, and not a (N)shepherd, who is not the owner of the sheep, sees the wolf coming, and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them.”
13“He flees because he is a hired hand and is not concerned about the sheep.
Parent or baby-sitter?
It makes all the difference in the world.
At Southbrook Church we’re blessed to have a lot of parents!
* Don’t forget…
This story was one of the greatest testimonies to God’s grace and miracle working power I have ever seen. And, sadly, because it was a last minute deal, many of you missed it. Well, hold on to your britches—back by popular demand (drum roll please) Dave Sanderson and Ken Norton (survivors from the US Airways 1549 plane crash) will be “almost live” at our Monroe Campus this weekend! So, if you missed round one, join us Sunday in Monroe for round two! You won’t regret it.
The service begins at 10:00. Click here for directions.