One of the first things I ask potential church planters is, “What do you want your church plant to be like?” A visionary planter will usually respond by sharing about their future meeting space, the type of music they will use for worship and a description of the culture they want to create in their new church. While it’s always fun to hear about the dreams and passions of planters, it’s also very telling as to where the focus of the new church plant lies.
Over the past two months, we have been looking at Church Planting N.C.’s (CPNC’s) core values. We started with the value of tribe and moved on to the value of reproduce. Now let’s look at our final value: “restore.” This value is born from the truth that Jesus didn’t leave us with a weekly service referred to as church but, rather, a mission for His church.
“If you build it, they will come,” is a captivating line in a movie called “Field of Dreams.” The movie portrays the story of a farmer who builds a baseball field in the middle of his corn crop. Unfortunately, too many church planters believe that if they can find the right meeting space, get the right worship leader, build strong teams and market themselves well, the community “will come.” While this strategy may possibly draw a crowd, it doesn’t always start a strong church that will impact the community. What strategy can a church plant employ that does have a lasting impact on the community around it?
People certainly have spiritual needs, but they also have emotional, economic and social needs.
In the book of Acts, we read about what happened when Philip planted the church in Samaria. Acts 8:4-8 says, “Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went. Philip went down to a city in Samaria and proclaimed the Messiah there. When the crowds heard Philip and saw the signs he performed, they all paid close attention to what he said. For with shrieks, impure spirits came out of many, and many who were paralyzed or lame were healed. So there was great joy in that city.”
In this passage, we read about a new church that brought “great joy” in Samaria. If we are going to impact our cities and towns with the gospel, we have to do more than just work to save their souls (which is of utmost importance). To bring the joy of the gospel, we must positively impact our mission fields with the love that the gospel demonstrates. People certainly have spiritual needs, but they also have emotional, economic and social needs.
In Matthew 9, Jesus told His disciples that “…the harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few.” The harvest that Jesus refers to in Matthew were “harassed and helpless,” just like the mission fields of North Carolina. Gospel restoration of our towns and neighborhoods happens when our church plants are more than worship gatherings on Sunday mornings that people attend. Gospel restoration happens when the church comes to them. Whether it’s partnering with a local elementary school to provide reading tutors and mentors, supporting a crisis pregnancy center, stocking shelves and providing volunteers for a local food bank, or giving free financial counseling to help families know how to execute a budget, communities are better when the church is a vital part of the inner workings of the community. This is a picture of what our core value of “restore” looks like.
Tribe, reproduce and restore are the three values that drive everything we do at CPNC. Our deepest prayer is that we will see a revival in North Carolina as God raises up planters and leaders who will impact their mission fields for His glory. If you would like to know more about the work of CPNC, contact us at [email protected].
EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the third article in a three-part series on Church Planting NC’s core values. The other articles in this series may be accessed here: Part 1 and Part 2.