We’re Planting A Church
I almost entitled this post: “We’re Having a Baby”—that certainly would have been an attention-grabber—but I didn’t want my cell phone blowing up with texts and calls from people who reached out before they read the article. The reality is “We’re Planting a Church” is a more accurate caption, anyway.
This fall, around late September, we will be launching a new church in Riverside, called ReBuild Fellowship. This will be a multi-ethnic, multi-cultural church that, in many ways, will look very little like Northpoint. The building won’t resemble the one to which you’re accustomed. The worship won’t sound the same. And the leadership will (naturally) be different. Dr. Kimani Gathere (along with his wonderful wife, Lydia) will be leading the charge. But despite the noticeable dissimilarities between Northpoint and ReBuild, the mission will be exactly the same: The church will exist to make disciples who make disciples for the glory of God and the joy of all peoples.
In his first post-resurrection words to his beleaguered disciples, Jesus does something very Jesus-like: Before he instructs his followers to do anything, he reminds them of what’s already been done. The risen Christ says to the remaining eleven, “all authority in earth and on heaven has been given to me … therefore, go and make disciples.” In other words, “I’ve already conquered death and hell; I’m not asking you to do it. I don’t need you to build the kingdom; I will build it. But I am going to use you, and I have all the authority and power necessary to cause this endeavor to succeed.” With that, Jesus launches a movement that would reproduce itself: A multiplying church that would continue to expand like ripples in a lake until the multitudes of the earth had heard the gospel. Consequently, the fame of God would be extended and the name of God would be hallowed as more people are brought into worship of the Creator.
As elders of Northpoint, since 2012, we have clung to this shared vision: Jesus has called us to be a multiplying church. In fact, the very nature of the Great Commission hinges on Jesus’ followers’ willingness to multiply and send.
In both a subsequent post, and in an upcoming August sermon, I will be explaining in significant detail why we are planting a church. After all, as many astutely point out: There are plenty of churches in our region. “Don’t we have enough churches as it is?” it is often asked. And, “Aren’t there churches dying in every city?” The answer to these questions is: Yes, churches are everywhere and many are dying. But in the churches still alive, there is a great dearth of gospel-centered preaching. There are some good churches, to be sure, but in many, the message is one of constant moralism. Preachers fill their parishioners’ bellies with endless instructions on how to have better lives, how to change their situations, how to become better people.
We believe people need the gospel, not powerless advice on how to upgrade their lives. We believe people are not hearing enough about Jesus, his ministry of compassion, his sinless obedience, his substitutionary death, his world-altering resurrection, and his impending return.
So we want to send Dr. Kimani, Lydia, and a handful of others into a new context to share an old message: Jesus Christ died for sinners.
Here’s what you can do:
1. Please pray that God blesses this endeavor. As I said from the pulpit on Sunday: We know that there will be no revival in the church apart from prayer; there will be no transformation in our nation, city, or homes apart from the intercession of God’s people, who cry out to him to perform the miracle of the new birth. We need to pray for ReBuild.
2. Consider joining the launch team. If you have been faithful to serve God’s kingdom and have demonstrated a passion for telling people about Jesus, think about going with the team to Riverside. We are looking for eight families to leave their comfortable surroundings in order to be part of something bold and exciting: A church for all nations in our own backyard. Of course, we will miss you. But you will enjoy the experience of being part of a ground-level work of God. If you would like to know more, please email Kimani Gathere at email@example.com.
3. Continue to give faithfully to the work of the ministry. By God’s grace, our giving this fiscal year has been very strong. We praise God for his faithfulness, and we thank you for being used by God to advance his kingdom. Nevertheless, if we, in fact, send eight or more of our committed families, this means that the rest of us must increase or, at least, maintain a pattern of faithfulness in the grace of giving, as God brings more people into his church here in Corona. Let’s continue to give sacrificially and ask God to multiply our contributions in ways we never thought possible.
We’re not afraid to confess: This is a tad bit unnerving. J.D. Greear, whose church in Raleigh, North Carolina has planted more than twenty-six churches in North America, told me that the hardest part was sending away good people to be part of a new work. I feel that, too. But following Christ demands letting go of some things. The grace of God was never meant to be hoarded. And we’re excited to see what the Sovereign One might do through a few willing and courageous servants.
For the glory of God in all things,