Your sense of identity shapes your choice of activities. If you are a carpenter then you build things. If you are a librarian then you purchase, catalog, and arrange books. If you are a child of the king then you…? If you are a disciple of Jesus you…?
In the Scriptures we find that God changes the people he calls by giving them a new identity and then challenging them to live up to that sense of self-definition. Because our relationship with Jesus makes us “holy” we are called to live holy lives. Here we see the connection between indicatives and imperatives in Paul’s writings. In the first half of most of his letters he discusses the identity of people “in Christ.” The second half shows how that new identity in Christ changes the way we are to behave and determines to a great extent what we do.
If you begin to see yourself as a church planter that self-definition will change what you do in significant ways. You will begin to pray for wisdom to discern which communities need churches. There will be care to identify the obstacles to planting churches there. Care will be given to discover the profile of the ideal person to transmit the gospel in that community. “Who has access to the majority of that community?” is the kind of question that will capture your attention.
Two large draft horses placed first and second at a horse pull. The second place horse pulled a sled weighing 400 pounds. The winner pulled 450 pounds. When someone suggested the two be harnessed together they were able to pull 1,200 pounds as a team. Church planters realize the task is too great to be accomplished alone. They recognize their work will require a team. Their thoughts swing to recognizing who else needs to be involved. Concern is given to who needs additional training and what kind of training is essential.
How different would our lives be if we saw ourselves as church planting missionaries? Did you know there are five different great commissions? Jesus wants all his disciples to recognize that following him means we begin to search for the people God wants called together into new church plants. Jesus said his disciples would be like their master. Are you like him?
John Kenneth King