What “They” Say: An Encouragement To Those Involved in Church Planting
A guest blog written by Allie Hobbs, the wife of a church planter in Denver that Calvary’s X150 movement is partnering with. If you’ve ever thought about church planting, these words are for you!
You’ve heard it said a million times in a million different ways: “Well, they say…”
The illusive they has a lot more sway over our lives than we give the mysterious pronoun credit for, and the area of church planting is no exception.
They say to be confident in your calling and they say you should try to talk yourself out of church planting.
They say you’ll see God do incredible things and they say that it is likely you will fail.
They say to live in authentic, joyful community with people and they say people will hurt you.
They say to give it all you have and they say to create boundaries to protect your family.
They say. They say. They say.
Although they can be wise and might actually be correct, they can also be confusing, distracting, and contradicting.
For the past several years, my husband, myself, and a beautiful team of people have been on a journey to see God birth a new church in a city where few people know and follow Jesus. In the midst of this experience we’ve heard a lot of theys say a lot of different things to us. But God, in His kindness, has pushed us to His word, to hear what He has to say.
So, what does God say to church planters? To their wives and families? To newly established churches? In what way does God want to encourage people who might be considering church planting?
In looking at the New Testament, you see that the apostle Paul, a master church planter himself, wrote many letters to various church leaders and to specific church plants. Although the content of the letters is specific to the churches, leaders, and their needs, the greeting from God is always the same: grace and peace.
“…Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” Romans 1:7
“Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Corinthians 1:3
“Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” 2 Corinthians 1:2
“Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ…” Galatians 1:3
“Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” Ephesians 1:2
“Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” Philippians 1:2
“Grace to you and peace from God our Father.” Colossians 1:2
“To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Grace to you and peace.” 1 Thessalonians 1:1
“Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” 2 Thessalonians 2:2
“…Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.” 1 Timothy 1:2
“…Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.” 2 Timothy 1:2
“…Grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior.” Titus 1:4
“Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” Philemon 3
What was the initial word from God over and over again to these new, imperfect churches with fragile pastors and insecure wives and
unpredictable teams? Grace and peace. Before anything else, Paul wants these churches to know that God’s grace and peace meets them first.
God first reminds these church plants, and us today, that before we are anything else, we are recipients of His grace. This good news that it is not in our own efforts that we earn God’s favor, sets the stage for the encouragement, instruction, and correction that is to come. In this brief greeting, God is so gently reminding us that we are secure because of Jesus—he meets us first with grace.
But with one more simple word, God goes even further with his encouragement. He reminds us that grace leads to peace. When anxiety, fear, insecurity, and uncertainty seem to win the game of life over and over again, God greets us with the opposite—peace. The gospel tells us that we are saved by grace through faith, and in turn, that leads us into a life of peace with God and with others. Therefore, our status before the God of the universe is one of security and peace.
In the world of church planting, the tendency is to be a doer which leads to a lot of worry. Did we hang enough door hangers? Did we engage our neighbors authentically? Did we greet people with hospitality? Is our membership growing numerically and spiritually? Am I equipped to be a pastor? Do I fit the church planting wife mold? Are our kids missing out?
These questions are good and valid, but if they are rooted in a sense of achievement and anxiety, we’ve missed God’s gentle whisper of grace and peace to us in this glorious endeavor. Church planting, and the Christian life, should be approached out of a place of grace and peace because that’s the word that God gives to us first.
In an effort to not be another illusive they, hear God’s words to churches, church planters, wives of church planters, and you: grace and peace.
We want to be a multiplying church, sending out people to join and start church plants, and we wanted you to hear from someone who has been there and knows what it’s really like. Allie and her family, along with other church planters Calvary supports, will be here this Sunday, 11/11, to be introduced to the Calvary family and share more!