We plant churches no matter the cost. Often I have conversations with those who are hesitant about church planting. Not because of a biblical conviction but rather the inconvenience of planting and also the cost of planting. While I know Sunday for Cornerstone Wirral will a joyous celebratory gathering. I also know it will be one of much sadness as the reality hits that s...Keep Reading
We plant churches no matter the cost. Often I have conversations with those who are hesitant about church planting. Not because of a biblical conviction but rather the inconvenience of planting and also the cost of planting. While I know Sunday for Cornerstone Wirral will a joyous celebratory gathering. I also know it will be one of much sadness as the reality hits that some of our closest friends we won’t see in the same way or as regularly. All the investment emotionally, spiritually has been leading to this point to plant. But that doesn’t negate the reality that we have to often walk through the pain of something to be able to see new life. We grieve the loss with a gospel ‘see you soon’ The bible often uses the picture of giving birth. There is pain in childbirth but there is much joy when baby is born. Church planting and multiplication feels like that. There is greater joy in sending and giving away than keeping.
Isn’t this true of being a disciple? Luke 9:23-27 - “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself?”
We die to self, preference, our wants, needs and concerns because that’s what it means to be a disciple in the day to day and that’s what it means to be a church planting church. Let go, lose our lives for Jesus in church planting and in doing so we save it. That's the paradox.
While keeping people, key leaders and culture makers, finances, resources may bloat Cornerstone Wirral but eventually not giving away and dying to our gain we will die. Perhaps this is why many churches today are closing. There came a moment when they stopped dying to self and giving away and started keeping to find self in so doing they died. Church Planting will cost you no doubt, friends going, gifted leaders and influencers going. You have to start again as the sending church while also supporting the plant. Financial cost, time and energy costs. But you know what when that first person is saved, the first baptism, the team growing in christlikeness through the discouragement and pain and loving Jesus more. Will certainly be worth. We certainly will gain eternally and the win is for the Kingdom of God and in that we gain by losing.
So this Sunday will be a mixture of gospel joy and sadness. It would be easier and more convenient and maybe make us as a church look and feel stronger. But to know we didn’t plant for those reasons I’m not sure are valid when we stand before Jesus on the last day.
So it’s more of commission to Rooted Church South Wirral similar to Paul to Timothy. What you have heard and seen in the presence of Cornerstone Wirral. You go and do likewise to South Wirral no matter the cost for the glory of God and the sake of the lost. When we stand before Jesus we pray many more are standing alongside side us because of the bold step of faith.
So far we’ve answered the question “Why do we plant churches?” with 2 answers, for the glory of God and that is how we continue the mission of Jesus. Today we answer the question with the answer “because of the lostness of the lost.”
One of the most profound passages that moves me in the desire to see churches planted for the sake of the lost is Luke 23:26-31 which is worth quoting in full.
“And as they led him away, they seized one Simon of Cyrene, who was coming in from the country, and laid on him the cross, to carry it behind Jesus. And there followed him a great multitude of the people and of women who were mourning and lamenting for him. But turning to them Jesus said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. For behold, the days are coming when they will say, ‘Blessed are the barren and the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed!’ Then they will begin to say to the mountains, ‘Fall on us,’ and to the hills, ‘Cover us.’ For if they do these things when the wood is green, what will happen when it is dry?”
Jesus says “do not weep for me” why? Because there is something worse that Jesus dying on a cross outside the city of Jerusalem. He says weep for yourselves, why? What is worse than death? It’s dying in death not at peace with Jesus, still dead in your sins and unrepentence. Jesus was going to the cross knowing he was making away for us to be forgiven and at peace with him. But he was indicating weep for those who continue in rejection of me.
The lostness of the lost should motivate us to plant churches. There are 330,000 people on Wirral. Recent stats say less than 2% attend an evangelical church. We cannot be ok with those stats. I want to stand in glory and see Jesus knowing we did all we could to get the message out and see people saved. We want to get to glory and meet people who are thankful that the Church of Jesus existed on the Wirral and more so, would be moved by the lostness of the lost so planted churches so more people could know. We can’t take the risk that calvary are coming. We’re the ones God has placed here so obedience to him looks like planting churches.
The reality is we plant churches so the lost have every opportunity to hear the good news of Jesus. We plant churches because if we don’t go who will and how then will the people of Wirral hear and know the gospel?
Romans 10:13-15 - “For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent?
If you work backwards through this passage it is clear why we plant churches. We plant churches because we are a sent people to continue the mission of Jesus. How do we continue that mission? By preaching the gospel. Why? So everyone can hear the message of grace and forgiveness of sins because they cannot believe in one whom they have not heard. So we go, plant churches, preach the gospel so more people have the opportunity to call on the name of Lord in repentance and faith.
Why do we plant churches? Because of the lostness of the lost. If we don’t go who else will?
So yesterday we answered the question "why do we plant churches?” with the first and most important reason being “for the glory of God”. Another reason we plant churches is because that is how we continue the mission of Jesus.
What was Jesus sent to do? Luke 19:10 “to seek and save the lost”. Jesus came on a rescue mission to redeem and purchase for himself a people through his life, death, resurrection and ascension. Having completed that work he commissions his people equipped with the Holy Spirit to continue that saving mission.
In John 20:21 Jesus says to his disciples “as the father has sent me so I send you” or elsewhere more famously Matthew 28:18-20 - “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations.” or Acts 1:8 “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem …. and to the ends of the earth”
God’s people, the church are to pick up that mission in obedience to Christ’s commission. We are to go and proclaim the Kingship of Jesus in our proclamation and life displaying the good rule and reign of Jesus. We get the privilege of telling lost souls they are loved and wanted by a risen Savior. Through church planting, we become God’s megaphone to the world.
It is through church planting we are faithful to the great commission to go to the nations, all people groups. It’s through church planting we can be sure that we are fulfilling all of Jesus’ commission. It’s in the local church that discipleship happens. It’s in local churches that we baptise those who come to submit to the Kingship and Lordship of Jesus. It is in local churches that we teach one another. It’s in local churches that we go on mission together to the ends of the earth for the glory of God.
We plant churches today because that is how the early church responded to the great commission. The book of Acts is the explosion of the gospel from Jerusalem to Judea and Samaria to the ends of the earth. It was as the disciples preached, people were saved and churches established and that continued throughout the known world to us today.
In fact the very church you are part of was once a church plant. But that was never meant to be the end goal. Faithfulness and obedience to Jesus is to continue being a church planting church. All churches need to come back and consider how are we continuing to fulfil the great commission and church planting has to be part of that conversation.
That’s why here at Cornerstone Church Wirral planting one church isn’t the goal. The prayer is to see the Wirral saturated with disciples obeying and loving Jesus in local churches. That’s why we started the Cornerstone Collective to see Merseyside saturated with more churches to see the 1.3 million people of Merseyside come to know Jesus.
Before you think there is something unique about Cornerstone there isn’t, our church isn’t perfect, our leaders aren’t perfect or brilliant. We’re not the best resourced or the most experienced. But simply we are seeking to be faithful and obedient to Christ’s commission and that means church planting.
So I encourage you to consider the New Testament again and see afresh that Church Planting wasn’t the work of a zealous believer nor should it be today but rather it is the rational, logical and reasonable expression of a healthy bible honouring, Jesus worshipping, Spirit filled healthy church.
So why do we plant churches? To continue the mission of Jesus to seek and save the lost. How best do we do that? By church planting!
This Sunday marks a significant day in the life of Cornerstone Church Wirral and the Cornerstone Collective. It will be to the day 6 years ago that we planted Cornerstone Church Wirral. We’re overwhelmed by God’s grace toward us. Over 40 people baptised, people growing in their faith and likeness onto Jesus. All mixed with the pain, trials, hardships, tragedy and tears as God’s sanctifying grace has been at work in us and through us.
But this is just one reason. The second reason is this. We have the joy of commissioning and sending Rooted Church South Wirral to plant a church in Eastham. Ever since day one of planting it was our prayer to see a church planted in the Eastham area. By God’s grace we get to do this.
God has raised up a team of over 20 people to move and be part of seeing the gospel advance in that area. But why do we plant churches? Well over the next few days we will answer that question. While there is no specific church planting verse in the bible there are a number of reasons why.
I was blessed to grow up in a Christian home and Church and one of the earliest songs I was taught was “Jesus loves me” It went like this - “Jesus loves me this I know for the bible tells me so.” You can really answer the question to “Why do we plant churches” with the same answer "for the bible tells me so” It is all over the bible and here is one reason.
We plant chruches for the glory of God. The one singular reason we plant churches is for the glory of God. Every other reason, however important it may be, is merely a distant 2nd.
- Isaiah 6:3 says “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!” Through church planting we put on display the glory of God. We plant churches because it puts God and His matchless perfection, greatness and beauty on display. This is the heartbeat of church planting!
- Ephesians 1:3 says “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places.” We plant churches to the praise of God’s glory so that people can taste, see, know, and experience every spiritual blessing in Christ.
- Ephesians 1:6, 12 says “to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved … so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory.” We plant churches to the praise of God’s glory because Christ is the better hope! Church planting dives straight into the middle of culture and attacks the idea of “the pursuit of happiness” head on in order to say, “there is something better, something far better than what you are chasing, than what you are placing all of your hopes and dreams in, it’s Jesus.”
- Ephesians 1:14 says "who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory” - We plant churches to the praise of His glory because we desire for many more people to be brought to faith through the gospel, giving them security and endurance for this life and the life to come! We are to plant churches until we acquire possession of our inheritance. That is seeing Jesus face to face. So no matter how old or how young you are you should be about Church Planting.
- Finally Habbakuk 2:14 says “For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.” Through church planting we give a foretaste and a way to anticipate the saturation of the world with the glory of God. The only way people will come to know Jesus is through seeing Jesus at work through his people and coming to hear the gospel proclaimed. Through church planting we place more people who don’t know Jesus into that opportunity.
So why do we plant churches? For the glory of God
Why is Cornerstone Church Wirral planting Rooted Church South Wirral? For the glory of God.
If you want to know more about Cornerstone or the church plant in Eastham then get in touch. Or join us this Sunday 29th September 10:30am to hear more.