For Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every sabbath day. ~Acts 15:21
The idea of community can be traced back to Adam and Eve. Communities are made up of neighborhoods, districts, and zip codes combined together to make up cities. Every city has its own unique identity based upon attractions, education, employment, life stages, open space, population density, recreation, safety, and wealth. Most overlooked, but most important, is the availability of gospel-preaching churches in that city and its communities. The phrase “in every city them that preach him [Jesus]” stood out to me in my Bible reading. I challenge everyone reading today’s devotion to get a burden for the planting of Bible-believing, Baptist churches.
We see the priority.
“But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth” (Acts 1:8). The Great Commission is taking the gospel throughout the world through the faithful witness of every Christian and church planting. I believe that our Lord wants a church planted in every city, town, village, and hamlet. A strong, gospel-preaching church is a “a city that is set on an hill” that is to be faithfully winning people to Christ. Our priority is to be faithful to our local church in its local outreach and in the promotion of starting new churches.
We see the precedent.
Going back to Moses's day, there were cities which had men of God who preached salvation. When Jesus commissioned the apostles, He sent them to cities and towns (Matthew 10:11). As the church expanded after the Day of Pentecost, men of God went to the cities of their origin or to other places by the leading of the Holy Spirit. In some cases, these men went to cities where they had a base of people they knew and started preaching to. In most cases, these men of God pioneered starting churches in cities where the gospel had not been preached. Handed down to us is a biblical precedent that in every city, we must have them that preach Him.
We see the process.
First, there must be the servant of God. Paul told Titus to "ordain elders in every city” on the island of Crete. It is important to have a lead preacher who, preferably, has the gifts of pastoring, administration, and leadership to lead and direct this new work. Without the right anointed leadership, the new work will struggle. Second, the strategy for starting the church includes, but is not limited to, a team that is pastor-selected which will have a strong soulwinning and branding emphasis, announcing to people the start of this church. It should focus on winning people to Christ who will want to be part of the nucleus of this church. Those people won to Christ and those interested in attending this new church should be enrolled into a Bible study or discipleship program that builds connection and relationships as the church is getting started. Third, the new church needs to establish a budget and purchase the supplies and equipment needed such as tracts, discipleship books, database software, hymn books, visitor connection cards, pens, decision cards, stationary, business cards, and things needed for a nursery and children’s program. Foremost in the process is much prayer and daily soulwinning.
We see the product.
The end goal is a thriving church that is reproducing disciples, soulwinners, and leaders. The leaders are people who are trained in getting a vision for starting other churches and that, one day, will be sent out as part of a church planting team. Every city needs them that preach Him. Will you seriously consider being trained as part of a church planting team?
Have a compassionate God Morning!
Bible Reading Schedule: Psalms 90-95