As was sitting in the room at the Preaching and Teaching Conference at Ozark Christian College preparing to talk to students about church planting. The talk that I was about to give was called “Church Planting is for Quitters“. I thought about the weeks and months that lead up to the start of Elevation. I was fortunate to be able to go through all of the faces of people who were and are a part of the team that makes up Elevation. (Faces because I am horrible with names, hit in the head too much.)
When we were preparing to start Elevation in Aurora, CO. I had prayed and fasted that God would bring together a team of people who would see the opportunity to be a part of the vision and mission of church that would, “Engage jacked up people so that they could become followers of Jesus.” It is one of the areas that I carry the most concern for when it comes to church planters. That they are willing to get a group of people to be the team that starts a church in an area. Especially people who are living in that area. That have an invested connection to the place where the church is going to start. We were fortunate to have people be a part of the church planting team, but we were more blessed when we started to see people in the community that saw the vision and mission of church as a need for their community.
I have always heard the business statement, “Get the right people on the bus.” I truly believe that is a great statement. But I believe it is way more important to “Get people on the bus.” Especially as a church planter to get people on the bus from the community that you are starting a church in. I love the verse in 1 Samuel 14:8 where Jonathan and his armor bearer are about to get in the battle:
8 “All right then,” Jonathan told him. “We will cross over and let them see us.
Even though Jonathan was the son of the king and was the one that was leading this charge into enemy territory. He included his armor bearer in that amazing statement. When it comes to church planting and church planters we need to really see the need to quit going alone. We need to continually look at how we can bring others along with us into the battle.
Who are you bringing along with you into the battle?
One of the things that we have learned over the last two years of being a part of a church plant is the battle that comes after we see God show up and do something amazing. This last weekend at Elevation we were priviledged to share the gospel message then see the Holy Spirit move in the lives of 10 people. We have already heard from some of the people that responded to the gospel and there has been freedom in their lives when it comes to addiction, brokeness, and loss. I love being able to be a part of a church where people see it is a place for the “jacked up” and that they can encounter the radical grace of Jesus Christ. But then we also were able to celebrate with five men as they were baptized. Five men that are going to be leaders in their homes, five men that are going to be fighters for the gospel, and five men that are chasing after Jesus. We can claim that at Elevation we are living out Matthew 11:21 where we see the Kingdom of Heaven is advancing.
But then comes the Monday and Tuesday after an amazing weekend. These are the days that we have learned that there is an enemy that does not want us to be able to celebrate what is going on in Elevation. So we have things that happen that will discourage and divide the team. People get upset about things, people don’t like how things were done, or people well they are just people. But we know it is just the enemy that is trying to get us to lose focus. Maybe to even get us to hate or be bitter or even give up. These are the verses that came to me this afternoon while I was praying:
12 For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. Ephesians 6:12 (NLT)
The fight is never with a person or even with the problem. The fight is with the enemy and you can choose to either allow the enemy to take you down or you can by the power of Jesus Christ put a double leg take down on the whole situation. The way that you do this is by getting down in the bottom position (if you wrestled you know what I mean). From this position you just pray. Anytime that you get on your knees and pray is the best way to fight. Then you you use the stand-up (basic wrestling escape) and stand on the power of the bible. That is the only way that you are going to be able to make it through the battle. If you are going through what you feel is a battle then please let me know how can I be praying for you. Fight the good fight!
Have you ever felt that you just couldn’t go on? Have you ever just thought it would be just easier to quit? Maybe that is what you feel like right now. I think that everyone of us has felt this way at one time or another. But there are some people around us that just seem to be able to fight through the battles with a little more strength then we do, why is that?
These people have found the people in their lives that are willing to lift their hands up in victory. No I am not talking about like after a fighter wins in the cage or if a wrestler wins a match. But people that are willing to support them as they walk through life, these are accountability partners, best friends, bible study leaders. These are the people that you can go to when life is getting to you. These are the people that you can tell your struggles too. These are the guys that will hold up your arms. Check this out:
It amazes all the time to hear from so many men that they are not doing life with other guys that can speak into their lives. That men today feel that they are tough enough to be able to handle life on their own. One of the things that I have learned over the years is that I need to surround myself with men that are willing to fight. I need to surround myself with men that see that this life lived in a relationship with Christ needs the support of others that are see the need for a battle ready group. Here is a picture for us to look at when it comes to what kind of guys we need in our battle ready group:
Well I am so excited to say that wrestling at the High school where I coach is getting ready to start in the next month. I love the first two weeks of wrestling because you really are able to see who is there for the sport or who is there because someone talked them into it. With all the amazing training techniques that have come with MMA we use them in the first two weeks. We as coaches want to see who is going to really be a fighter a wrestler that is just not going to quit.
I believe that God is looking for those kind of men as well. See what it says in the following verses:
Genesis 32:22-26 (NLT) But during the night Jacob got up and sent his two wives, two concubines, and eleven sons across the Jabbok River.  After they were on the other side, he sent over all his possessions.  This left Jacob all alone in the camp, and a man came and wrestled with him until dawn.  When the man saw that he couldn’t win the match, he struck Jacob’s hip and knocked it out of joint at the socket.  Then the man said, “Let me go, for it is dawn.” But Jacob panted, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.”
There are a couple of things that I think are important when it comes to these verses. First, Jacob was physically prepared to do battle and he was prepared to go at it. Second, that he was able to wrestle all night that he was not afraid to leave it all on the mat. Third, we see that even though he was hurt that he was not going to let go until he got what he was praying for. I believe that these are a few things that God is looking for in men of today. That we would be willing to fight for our faith, fight for our wives, and fight for our families. That we would live a life that is a picture of persistence.
That we would be Anointed Fighters!