Man, you missed some great gospel reflections on church planting by Michael Stewart today at PlantR. Stew is the Pastor of Missional Community at Austin Stone. His words were gospel water to my soul. He called us away from idol-making and into gospel-believing.

He pointed out how we try to find worth and meaning in lots of places besides Jesus:

  • In our numbers: We “round up”, inflate our attendance, number of missional communities, conversions.
  • In our models: We emphasize best practices, methodologies, and models instead of the Gospel
  • In our mission: How many poor we reach, souls are saved, children are rescued, houses are built
  • In our community: How much time we spend with others, how we serve them, how we are loved and accepted
  • In our hits: blog activity, comments, popularity

What we need is Jesus not numbers, models, mission, and community. All these things make very bad masters. When we fail in community, community is not merciful to us. Master Community kicks us when we are down, but Jesus dies for us. Master Mission is not a good master. When we fail to be missional, to serve enough, witness enough, preach enough, Master Mission will beat us down. But what does Jesus do? He dies for us; he lifts us up. Only King Jesus is that merciful, gracious, and satisfying. His acceptance alone frees us to be ourselves for him, instead of being somebody else for others.

P.S. This last section Stew adapted from my Enduring Community talk at Acts 29 ENDURE. Audio forthcoming.