I am currently listening to a talk given by Darrin Patrick to church planters. Church planting fascinates me because it has a renewed emphasis on getting the basics/foundations right and an intense missiological drive.
Darrin is a very inspiring pastor, leader and church planter (Acts 29). He is a very honest and humble man that is ready to help others learn from his mistakes during his experiences as a church planter. I will add some of my own observations too.
Here are some of the lessons that could be useful for anyone in leadership – church planter or not. Let’s start with his first one. Don’t underestimate the reality and intensity of spiritual warfare. This seems a truism, but very often ignored. Planting churches that enable people to see and hear the truth of the Gospel will encounter spiritual opposition on both the leader and his family. If Satan can ‘take out’ he key leader – the whole community will suffer terribly –often without recovery.
I don’t think this is just for church planters. Any key spiritual leader as well as any living disciple of Christ (a bit of a n oxymoron, I know) – will experience opposition or even persecution.
- If you’re a leader – wake-up and realise that this war is real. Equip yourself adequately – read Ephesians 6. Pray through Ephesians 6.
- A bit of an ‘old skool’ adage: ‘If you’re not experiencing any opposition, ask yourself if you’re really living for Christ as you ought’.
- Pray and fast for your leaders/their families. They will cherish that deeply!
- Encourage your leaders/families in their difficult battle. As Satan discourages you ‘fight back’ with encouragement!
Ephesians 6:10-20: 10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. 19 Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.
More to follow regarding prayer and mentoring – in the next few days