In a busy season of abstract, there is one thing I would like to share with you as both a building block and a beautiful picture. We ARE giving to church planting.
“We want you to know, brothers, about the grace of God that has been given among the churches of Macedonia, 2 for in a severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part. 3 For they gave according to their means, as I can testify, and beyond their means, of their own accord, 4 begging us earnestly for the favor of taking part in the relief of the saints “ — 2 Corinthians 8:1–4
While at the Advance Conference we spent a great deal of time praying for new plants around the world. Four hundred plus people praying new plants in Asia, Europe, Africa, California, Nebraska, North Carolina, and numerous other places. One got our attention and squeezed our hearts, a plant in Provo, Utah reaching a largely Mormon context.
Just over a year ago several families moved to Provo to start a new work. For various reasons, only one family is left. What began as a team of planters is now one young family with small kids plodding along. The husband has been working a full time job at UPS and trying to plant in what remains. To make a long story brief, the host pastor felt led to meet their needs, asking those in attendance if we could raise $18,000 for this couple on the spot.
Well… if you have given to this church we are trying to plant, you are now a part of a church in Provo, Utah as well. We are committed to giving to churches planting other churches and are baking that into everything we are doing. So from the first fruits we have received, we gave to this work.
Pause for a moment of raw honesty: I knew the Lord was leading me to give, but it wasn’t easy. Looking at our own numbers and knowing what lies in front of us, gave me pause, but the conviction of churches planting churches that plant churches made the giving obvious. Paul tells the Corinthians, “But as you excel in everything — in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all earnestness, and in our love for you — see that you excel in this act of grace also.” (8:7)
Over the next thirty minutes, we prayed for this couple, the work in Utah and their provisions. The final count amounted to nearly $30,000. Needless to say, the family fell apart in tears of praise and the rest of the room followed accordingly.
God is amazing! In a moment, this family, this work was set miles ahead. They woke up the next morning knowing they could step away from UPS and plant with all their energies. To God be the glory. Again, Paul goes directly to giving as a ministry to the receiver and a blessing to the giver, “For the ministry of this service is not only supplying the needs of the saints but is also overflowing in many thanksgivings to God.” (9:12)
Their story is very real and tangible. Our commitment to be a church planting other churches to plant other churches is just as tangible and I want you to be a part. I don’t know what that looks like, but I want you to be part of launching not just one church, but too many to count.