PLANT YOUR GRANDSON'S CHURCH

 

At the present moment in time, fad rather than endurance has become the aim of many churches and church plants. But when I think about the future of Frontier Church, I pray that our people would hunger for a church with a vision that outlives our own lifetimes. Churches that labor to handle the gospel faithfully so they might pass it on to their children truthfully. Churches that gather together to worship alongside one another with the Biblical practices their great grandparents left to them. Churches that look forward to the next generations, but also look backwards to their previous generations. Churches with visions that outlive our own lifetimes. It’s ambitious, but we pray that Frontier Church would be one of these churches.

 

Here’s a brief illustration I hope God will wield to make you hunger for the heritage church. Take a moment to imagine two different expressions of the current marketplace: superstores and thrift stores. Really, pause, and imagine them. There’s a significant difference between the two, isn’t there? Superstores capitalize on all the current trends, imitate the sources of these fads, and then create the cheapest version of this product to sell it to you at the lowest price. Sure, it’s convenient, but it’s convenience is accompanied by a price. A gracious time window for its popularity is six months, and even that time period is pending the durability of the product. It probably won’t survive even those six months without breaking. Church, we have to dig deep and cultivate a better vision for the church than the superstore: fashionable, cheap, gimmicky.

 

Something extraordinary happens at thrift stores: we inherit artifacts that have outlived their owners. Heavy-duty. Durable. Hardwearing. The boots you walk out with outlived the thousands of hours of service from somebody’s grandfather. The harvest table you haul out weathered thousands of hardy meals and lively conversations in a grandmother’s prized kitchen. Inheritance doesn’t only pass the baton between generations, it passes a hardwearing baton between generations. And for those of you praying about joining Frontier Church, allow me to give you three steps and vision that I hope eclipse any aspirations of joining the hippest new thing: help us plant your grandson’s church.

 

CHRISTIANS, LEAVE IN GOOD STANDING

There are sturdy, solid churches in Des Moines who have been around for a lot or a little longer than Frontier Church. We love these churches and we wish to lock arms with them in their mission to see the joy of Des Moines thrive. But nothing quite devastates the hope of friendship between local churches quite like this religious curse word that can often be hurtled at church plants: “sheep thief.” Yes, sometimes Jesus calls Christians to a new work, but he does not call us to new church plants by finishing poorly at established churches. Share with your pastor how Jesus is wetting your appetite for church plants and ask him for his guidance and help. Finish well.

 

BRING A SHOVEL, AND EXPECT SLOW, HARD WORK

Just think about the phrase church planting. Planting is difficult, demanding work: dirt, splinters, and sweat come to mind while imagining the labor of planting. It reminds me of the old advertisement that Ernest Shackleton wrote to recruit adventurers to his expedition: “Men wanted for hazardous journey. Low wages, bitter cold, long hours of complete darkness. Safe return doubtful. Honour and recognition in event of success.” The message of this ad is different than the message of the church but the gritty, stouthearted spirit is same. It is indeed a hazardous journey, but take heart because it is the hardest laborers, like athletes, who march forward with the most joyful stories. Soldiers have war stories. So do church planters.

 

DESTROY YOUR IDOL OF NOVELTY

All of us living in the Western world struggle with the idolatry of novelty: we want what’s new, most hip, contemporary. And I know that this is not how salesmen speak, but I still feel compelled to write it: if you’re not seeking to kill your novel idolatry, Frontier Church is not the church for you. In fact, so far is our vision of Frontier Church from being a novelty church that we are venturing towards being a robustly heritage church. We don’t have anything new and glamorous to offer you; to the opposite, we only have what we’ve inherited from our grandparents: old-fashioned liturgy, old-school gospel preaching, and vintage sacraments. It’s almost a paradox, isn’t it? We’re planting a new church with the rock-solid foundation of an old church. It’s ambitious, but we want to be like our grandfather’s church because we want to plant our grandson’s church.

 

 

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