My family and I walked into Green Pond Bible Chapel back in the year 2000. We didn’t walk in regularly; back in those days, my goal was to slip in and slip out. Do not make direct eye contact and definitely do not engage anyone in conversation. Just get the kids from nursery as and beat it out of there.
Then, September 11th happened. God used that catastrophic day to shake me out of my selfishness and to make me realize that I needed to reconcile my relationship with God. He is eternal; this world is temporary. We began walking into Green Pond a lot more from that point on.
I started to hang around with men who lived their lives as believers. I started to read the Bible; I read all of it. I started to consume mass quantities of books, sermons, and conference audio. I started to play guitar on the worship team. I started teaching the Kindergarten and 1st Grade Sunday School class and I kind of liked it. My wife and I became Youth Group leaders and I started to teach high schoolers about the Bible. I liked it and they liked it, too.
We began thinking this might be something I might be called to do. I came on staff as a part-time Worship Director and started seminary. Our newly hired Senior Pastor and I began to talk about planting a church in the town where my family and I lived, about 30 minutes away. The elders began praying about the plant and I came on staff as a full time Pastor of Worship and Discipleship. I finished seminary and on March 27, 2016, our church plant had its first public worship service and God is building His church.
Reading all of this again, it’s actually kind of crazy. God truly works in mysterious ways. But reading all of this again also reminds me that God works in another, more primary way, that is, through the local church.
In fact, God works through the local church to build the church. It’s circular - people are drawn by God to the gospel, they go to a local church where they hear the Word of God faithfully preached, they see other disciples living faithful lives, and they see faithful church leaders watching over the church. People have their gifts and callings verified and are presented with opportunities for service. Some of them go out and plant more churches, and the cycle repeats, all for God’s glory. All this is the plan of God we see in His Word in places like Ephesians 3:10 - “so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places.”
In all of this, two points of encouragement come to mind:
First, Church, be faithful. Model Ephesians 3:10 well and love well. Remember, the church has the highest calling on Earth: to faithfully represent Jesus and to proclaim and live his gospel.
Second, remember the mission continues. It doesn’t end. One author wrote, “(The church is) God’s Plan A. There is no Plan B.” Church, let’s continue to be faithful by investing in our local churches and let's pray that more churches are planted and that God is glorified by bringing people to himself.