They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us they would have remained with us . . . ~ I John 2:19a
READING: I John 2:18-27
I don’t know the statistics, but I suspect that many churches have started as a result of a church split or someone leaving and going to start their own church. Sometimes, the leadership team will attempt to “save the day” by belatedly bestowing their blessings on people or groups that were leaving anyway. However, the circumstances surrounding the plant’s origin suggest a lack of understanding of the principles of submission and authority.
Sometimes, a person who was not converted in your church may bring baggage from another church and eventually they may move on again. We have had these experiences and, in every case, the one who left to start their own church was someone who started out in another vision. Church plants produced from that sort of division or rebellion encounter much difficulty. They have issues that have to be dealt with later and likely reap what they have sown.
As we develop a church planting team, we need to take pains to know the team members, their motivations, and their history in order to avoid serious problems. Here are some good questions to bear in mind:
- Are they native sons from your own church? Do they have the same heart for the church plant and your methodology?
- Have they been taught the principles of submission and authority? Do they have a proven track record in the local church of walking by these principles?
- Are they doing this for monetary gain as hirelings or are they truly called?
Dear Heavenly Father, Please give me patience to discern the people that you want to work with me on this church plant. Help me not to get in too much of a hurry. Amen.
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