Reading through the book of Jeremiah can be very good for a church planter (it certainly has been for me). Here are a few reasons why:
- Like church planters, Jeremiah was asked to do counter-cultural things (prophesy judgment and exile, carry a flask around, bury a loincloth, speak of God’s righteousness and holiness). For a planter, things like church discipline, God-centered preaching, gospel-focused counseling, contextualized ministry, and so on can be very counter-cultural, counter to prevailing secular and Christian sub-cultures.
- I am reminded of how utterly opposed our God is to our sin. Jeremiah has been prophetic in my life, calling me to repent of “seeking broken cisterns that can hold no water and forsaking the God of living waters” (2:13). The broken cistern of church planting is no place to find significance or refreshment. Only the God of living waters can satisfy my soul.
- I am refreshed by the breathtaking promises offered by God in the midst of struggle with sin. God has not left me to broken cisterns, but promises living water (2), a healing balm (8), knowledge of God (9), a new heart (36), the Spirit of God (36). A few refreshing promises…
Blessed (happy) is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust IS the Lord (17:7).
Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch and he shall reign as king and deal wisely and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land (23:5)
- I am reminded of the gravity of shepherding the flock of God and the consequences of poor shepherding (chps. 2,4,11,17, 23). God has not called me to planting; he has called me to pastoring. This is eternally weighty. I am not responsible for producing culturally savvy Christians, but for leading God’s people to cherish him above all things and to love others with radical, Jesus love.
And that is just getting started. Probably more to come on Jeremiah for planters.