Church Planting and the Promises of God

The Father is serious about his words. Every one is a promise, and each one of the promises of God finds its yes in Jesus.

promises of God

It’s an obscure passage, but I’ve always been drawn to this short phrase the Apostle Paul used to describe Jesus: “For as many as are the promises of God, in him they are ‘yes’.” (2 Corinthians 1:20)

Can we throw theology out of the room for a moment and just talk about the heart of God? When I think about this verse, I imagine that in some way—mysterious though it might be—God the Father weighed each word he spoke and made sure that Jesus would bring each word to its fullness. The Creator’s kind intentions are made real in Jesus. In Jesus all the goodness of God becomes real in (literally) a down-to-earth way of life. The Father is serious about his words. Each church planter, then, is one of the promises of God, and each one of those promises of God finds its yes in Jesus.

From my imagination I find two practical applications, especially for church planters, one about the “yes” in Jesus, and second the “yes” in me.

Church Planting and the Promises of God

1. Jesus is the Predetermined Yes

From the moment God told Abraham to look into the stars or count the grains of sand, Jesus was the fulfillment of these promises. But the fulfillment didn’t look anything like what Abraham expected. Abraham tried to bring the promise to reality, and Ishmael was born. Not even Isaac was the answer. The seed of Abraham was so much more than Abraham could have ever expected. This one example demonstrates that when God makes a promise, we should not impose our expectations upon what the answer will look like—or when it will come. Our best response is to trust in the faithfulness of the Promisor, then prepare ourselves to be surprised by the majesty of the Answer.

2. If Jesus is God’s “Yes,” He’s the Model for our “Yes” Back to God.

Jesus built his life around the Father’s will: he determined to say, “yes” even before he knew the request. His “yes” was not to a command, but to a person, the Father. In this he is our example. If we weigh every word of God on its merits and only afterward give a yes-or-no answer, we become the judge and arbiter of God’s promise. In so doing, we preserve our status of the lord of our lives. The writers of the Psalm 40 and Hebrews saw something different in Jesus:

Then I said, “Here I am, I have come—

  it is written about in the volume of the book:

I desire to do your will, O my God;

  your law is within my heart.

Jesus was God’s predetermined yes. Should we do anything less than follow his example?  


This article appeared here.

Ray Hollenbach helps pastors and churches navigate change. He's the founder of DEEPER Seminars, weekend leadership retreats focused on discipleship in the local church. His devotional book "Deeper Grace" is available at He currently lives in central Kentucky. He's also the author of of "The Impossible Mentor", a deep dive into the foundations of discipleship.