Archive for February, 2015
I believe once a church celebrates five years of existence, they are an established church. With this premise, the vast majority of churches in America are established churches. Many of these churches are in need of revitalization.
When you look at the status of churches in America, you may read reports that seventy or even eighty percent are plateaued or declining. When a church gets outside of itself in a missional focus like planting new gospel churches, this can serve as a major part of revitalizing their own established church.
Among even the largest evangelical denominations and conventions in America, only a small percentage of established churches are involved directly in planting new gospel churches. This needs to change if we desire to reach North America and the world for Jesus Christ.
Gospel Churches Plant Gospel Churches
When you read and study the book of Acts, you discover that gospel churches are involved in planting gospel churches. Again and again, we see the biblical precedent of planting churches. When the apostles went into towns, cities, and regions where the gospel had never been before, they won people to Christ and planted a gospel church immediately.
Gospel advancement and gospel community were significant parts of the churches discussed in the book of Acts. It appears, at times, that it is difficult to separate the advancement of the gospel and the planting of a new gospel community or church. Since established evangelical churches strive to live out Holy Scripture, these gospel communities must be involved not only in gospel advancement, but planting new gospel churches nationally and internationally.
Planting New Gospel Churches will Help Revitalize Your Church
As a local church pastor for over thirty-eight years, I know the deep need for seeing an established church become revitalized and reinvented to be more relevant contextually. Since I have pastored the same church for over twenty-eight of these years, I fully understand the importance of our existing churches being revitalized – given new life and vitality. We have experienced this several times through the years in our own fellowship.
From personal experience, I can tell you that it helps our fellowship when we are involved directly in planting new gospel churches! In church life, you cannot wait until you have it all together to become involved in planting new gospel churches. That may never happen! Yet, one of the greatest ways to lead revitalization in your church is to get people involved beyond themselves in a biblical endeavor like planting a new gospel church.
ALL Churches can Plant New Gospel Churches
Church planters and their churches receive monies from all sizes of churches. It doesn’t matter if it is $500 a year, $1,000 a year, or $100,000 a year. Church planters count all contributing churches as serious partners. From the smallest to the largest church, we can all find our place in planting new gospel churches.
Partnering with other churches to help plant new gospel churches is the future. Church planters do not have one sending church that supports their needs completely; they need several partners. Any church of any size can be involved in church planting. This will help you revitalize your church!
Our Commitment at Cross Church
Since 2002, our Cross Church Family has planted 101 new gospel churches locally, nationally, and internationally. Right now, we are in an ongoing partnership with 7 new gospel churches across the entire world. This is possible because our people came on board with a mighty vision to plant new gospel churches and through partnerships with other gospel churches.
Your Church can find a Way
Your church can find a way to participate in planting new gospel churches. I promise you, it will help contribute to your church being revitalized! This will result in new life, more excitement, and increased support in your church. New life sparks new life!
When established churches experience this, they will recapture a greater vision of reaching their own community for Christ. Their eyes will begin to again see what is around them in their own community.
Let’s help push back the lostness of our world through planting new gospel churches. Your church can do it!
Yours for the Great Commission,
Ronnie W. Floyd
For around thirty-three years, Jesus lived on this earth fulfilling His Father’s will. His life was like no other. His death on the cross was a sacrificial death that paid the way for all who will be brought into God’s family. His death was like no other. Three days after dying on the cross, Jesus Christ rose victoriously from the dead, being the “firstborn from the dead.” His resurrection was like no other.
Sometimes Jesus’ return to heaven–called “the ascension”–feels more like a disappearing act. He was here one minute, then gone. Three years of ministry seemingly evaporated in a moment’s time. His disciples, having spent day-after-day, week-after-week, month-after-month walking dusty roads with their Rabbi, are left standing on a mountain as Jesus leaves them behind.
Although we don’t talk about it that much, His ascension was an ascension like no other.
Here One Minute, Gone the Next
Luke, the author of Acts, records the scene. Jesus promised again the presence of the Holy Spirit, whose coming was only a few days away. He then assured the gathered disciples of the power they would receive through the Spirit.
“After He had said this, He was taken up as they were watching, and a cloud took Him out of their sight. While He was going, they were gazing into heaven, and suddenly two men in white clothes stood by them. They said, ‘Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up into heaven? This Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come in the same way that you have seen Him going into heaven” (1:9-11, HCSB).
Here one minute and gone the next.
Two Other Ascensions
There are two other ascensions in scripture. About Enoch, the Bible says, “So Enoch’s life lasted 365 years. Enoch walked with God; then he was not there because God took him.”1 A more descriptive ascension is that of Elijah, recorded in 2 Kings 2. As Elijah and Elisha were walking to Gilgal, the “time had come for the Lord to take Elijah up to heaven in a whirlwind.” Later, as they were approaching Jericho and in the presence of some 50 witnesses, “a chariot of fire with horses of fire suddenly appeared and separated the two of them. Then Elijah went up into heaven in the whirlwind.”2 This was certainly a spectacular ascension, prompting the late Rich Mullins to write, “When I leave, I want to go out like Elijah.”
An Ascension Like No Other
What makes Jesus’ ascension an ascension like no other? Very simply, it’s the reason He ascended. Jesus ascended to send the Spirit, to see the Father, and to intercede for us.
The sending of the Spirit was no small thing. Jesus had “previewed” the Spirit’s coming in John’s gospel.
Seeing the Father again had burned in the breast of Jesus since before His crucifixion. He prayed for His glory to be restored “in Your presence, with the glory I had with you.”3 From His throne beside the Father, Jesus intercedes for us.
Jesus’ ascension was not merely going to heaven like Enoch and Elijah. It was confirmation of His work and restoration of His glory. It truly was an ascension like no other.
Yours for the Great Commission,
Ronnie W. FloydSenior Pastor, Cross Church General Editor, Bible Studies for Life President, Southern Baptist Convention
1– Genesis 5:23, 24
2– 2 Kings 2:1, 7, 11
3– John 17:5