How do you start a church? Do you spam flyers everywhere, then rent a room and start doing Sunday morning services?
How is a church really born?
First, it must begin with a foundation. Just like building a house, you don’t just set up the walls and roof and call it good. All it would take is one nice big Midwestern storm and poof! The house falls. Same with a church. Without a solid foundation, a church falls.
So what is that foundation? Jesus.
Before a church even begins, it must be founded on Jesus. Those starting the church must be following Him, listening to Him, asking Him what He desires for the church. If a church does not start with Jesus, then it does not have a foundation.
So how does that look practically?
First, the leaders. Those who desire to lead the church should first look at the qualifications listed in the Bible. Are they living out these qualities? Are they living obedient to Jesus? Here are a few of the qualifications listed:
- Lives a blameless life.
- Faithful to his wife.
- Not arrogant or quick tempered.
- Not dishonest with money.
- Love what is good.
- Live wisely and be just.
- Live a devout and disciplined life.
- Must have a strong belief in the message he was taught.
There are more, but these are just a few of the qualities the Bible lists for those desiring to lead the church. I’m overwhelmed even looking at them. Whew!
Does this mean that leaders need to be perfect? No, or else they would not need Jesus. But a leader should be known for living out the qualities listed in the Bible. And humble enough to admit when they do sin, ask forgiveness, and move on.
Now notice, it doesn’t list leaders need to wear ties, have the right shoes, hairdo, or anything external like that. It lists qualities of the heart, character. It matters what the leader is on the inside, not the outside. A Spirit-led humble heart that follows Jesus. A leader who is worried about putting on a good front when at church, but acts differently at home will weaken the church’s foundation. A church’s foundation will only remain solid as long as the leaders are godly both at church and in the home.
Practically, what does that mean for Living Grace Church? First, it means that Dan and I need to examine our own lives. Are we following Jesus and obeying his Word? Are we living out these qualities (not perfectly, but consistently)? I include myself because as a pastor’s wife, I am a leader too, if nothing else because people are watching me.
This also means those desiring to help lead Living Grace Church need to be godly leaders. As those people come forward, we need to ask them if they are following what God says about leaders in the church. And then see if their lives back it up over time.
Godly leaders are crucial to the foundation of a church. It is the leaders who guard the flock, lead by example, serve like Jesus served (with a towel in hand, washing feet), and sacrifice because they know people matter to God. When a church is built on these kinds of people, people who love and follow Jesus, then the foundation will be solid.
Another crucial part of planting a church is prayer. Prayer goes hand in hand with godly leaders when pouring the foundation of a church. Without prayer, how will we hear God? Prayer is time spent with Jesus, asking and then quietly listening. It cannot be rushed. Let me say that again. Prayer cannot be rushed. It takes time to align ourselves with Jesus, to finally quiet our heart before Him, then hear Him.
Prayer changes our hearts. We begin to see the world as Jesus does. We begin to love people as Jesus does. Prayer prepares us to follow Jesus wherever He leads because we have spent time with Him, quietly, daily.
Again, what does that mean for Living Grace Church? It means we need people praying for this newborn church. We need people quieting themselves before Jesus, asking Him to direct His church. We need prayer for godly leaders, for endurance when the enemy fights back, for those whose lives will be touched. And soon we will need prayer for things such as a facility, finances, and partners.
It is not ambition that will plant this church. Nor hard work or luck. The church will be built on Jesus. It will be built on those who choose to give themselves to God to be used in whatever way He chooses. It will be hard, scary, and sacrificial. But by choosing to give ourselves to God, many more will come to know Him. And that, my friends, makes it all worth it.
*If you are interested in joining us, we need people for both our Launch Team and Prayer Team. To find out more, go to www.aplace4grace.org or facebook.com/aplace4grace.
*For more passages on godly leadership, check out Acts 20:28-31; 1 Pet 5:1-4 ; Titus 1:5-9 ; 1 Tim 3:1-6 .