Tuesday, April 26, 2011

How To Plant a Church With Little or No Outside Funding

With all the discussion over the funding of church planting, I thought I would share how we are planting a new Southern Baptist church with no outside funding. Yes, that's right; no outside funding. It can be done. Here's how we're doing it.

1. Get a secular job.
Don't take any salary from the new church until the church can meet its financial needs for startup costs and weekly expenses. Also, when you are in a secular job, you are actually around lost people. These are the people you are trying to reach with your new church plant.

2. Put your children in public school and have your wife get a secular job.
There's nothing worng with having your children in public school. They will get out of it what they put into it. Also, your children need to learn how to be around lost people. Being around lost people provides opportunities for witnessing for Christ. Your wife needs to be around lost people too.
3. Start a weekly bible study in your home.
Let the people know that the plan is for the bible study to ultimately become a church.

4. Once the bible study outgrows your home, find space to rent.
We outgrew our home bible study in two months. Thankfully, the Lord provided a local YMCA for our meetings. Your local YMCA is a great place for a new church plant.

5. Join your local Southern Baptist association, state convention, and the SBC. Cooperation is key for any SBC church. Join the SBC. As a member of the SBC, your church will automatically have tax exempt status. This will save you $850 in legal fees to become a 501c3 entity.

6. Pray, pray, pray. 
Nothing will happen without prayer. You can never pray too much.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Are We Overemphasizing Church Planting?

You may want to read my post on this topic at my other blog. Here's an excerpt.

Dr. Ezell is upfront about his intention to use more NAMB dollars for church planting. What this means is that 32% of the funds we give to NAMB will be wasted on new church plants that will not be in existence four years after their planting. 

You can read the entire post here

Monday, April 11, 2011

David Livingstone

He left his heart in Africa, but his body is buried in Westminster Abbey in London. At his death, natives gently removed his heart and buried it in the Africa he so dearly loved.
Then his body was carried to the coast, where it was shipped back to England for burial. His name was David Livingstone. And he was one of the first missionaries to go to Africa.

What sustains men and women who leave behind family and comfort to go to another country for the gospel's sake? What kept David Livingstone in Africa, when, as a medical doctor, he could have lived a very comfortable life in his native Scotland?

Livingstone, himself, answered that question. After 16 years of service in Africa, he returned to Scotland and
was asked to speak at the University of Glasgow. One of his arms had been rendered useless, the result of a lion's attack. His body bore physical evidence of the suffering he had endured with 27 bouts of jungle fever.
His face was a leathery brown from exposure to the elements. And it was creased from the cares of a hard life battling the Turks and the slave traders, both of whom had little use for Livingstone.

A hush swept over the students at the University of Glasgow as they prepared to listen to this man, realizing this was no ordinary person. "Shall I tell you what sustained me amidst the trials and hardship and loneliness of my exiled life?" he asked. And then he gave them the answer. "It was a promise, the promise of a gentleman of the most sacred honor; it was this promise, 'Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.'" (Matt. 28:20)

When Livingstone died, they found his body bent in prayer as he had knelt by his bed. Beside him was a well-worn New Testament opened up to Matthew 28. In the margin beside verse 20 was this notation:
"The Word of a Gentleman."

As the body of Livingstone was carried through the streets of London on its way to its final resting place in
Westminster Abbey, one man wept openly. A friend gently consoled him, asking if he had known
Livingstone personally. "I weep not for Livingstone but for myself," the first man said, and he added, "he lived and died for something, but I have lived for nothing."

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

A Palace, Not a Cottage.

"When I invited Jesus into my life, I thought He was going to put up some wallpaper and hang a few pictures. But He started knocking out walls and adding on rooms. I said, 'I was expecting a nice cottage.' But He said, 'I'm making a palace in which to live.'" C. S. Lewis

Monday, April 4, 2011

Oswald Chamber's Wife

There's an old saying that is very true. The saying is, "Behind every successful man is a good woman." That saying was never any more true than it was of Oswald Chambers. If you walk into just about any Christian bookstore in the world, you will find something that has Oswald Chambers as its author. His book, "My Utmost for His Highest," has become the best-selling devotional book in the world. And yet, if it had not been for his wife, Gertrude Chambers, very few people would even recognize the name of Oswald Chambers. Her name never appeared on any of the 50 books that bear the name of Oswald Chambers. But she is responsible for compiling all of them. In the foreword to "My Utmost for His Highest," she wrote about how the selections had come from various speaking engagements, yet she only signed with initials "B.C." Who was this remarkable woman who insisted on remaining entirely hidden behind the work of her husband?

Her maiden name was Gertrude Hobbs. But when she became Mrs. Oswald Chambers, for some reason, her husband began calling her "Biddy." Before the death of Oswald Chambers in 1917, a few of his sermons had been published. Some had been printed in booklets, but not a single book had gone to press.

Oswald died as the result of complications following an appendectomy in Egypt, where he had been ministering to British troops through the YMCA. His untimely death at the age of 43 was mourned by thousands of people. He was so well loved by the men he ministered to, that in spite of the fact that he wasn't part of the military, he was given a full military burial in the old British cemetery in Cairo. A cable was dispatched from Cairo to family and friends at home, bearing the simple message, "OSWALD IN HIS PRESENCE." Oswald and Biddy had been married for just 7 years. At the age of 34, she had become a widow and the single mother of a little girl. The real story behind the man's fame began at his death.

Before she met Oswald, Biddy had become a stenographer. She could take shorthand faster than most people could talk. And from the time she first began listening to her husband's messages, Biddy took shorthand notes. It never occurred to her that one day they would be transcribed to become the texts of his books and that she would become the editor as well as publisher of many of them.

If you have been blessed by the writings of Oswald Chambers as I have over the years, you would agree that the Christian world owes a tremendous debt of gratitude to a humble, gracious, and generally unknown woman whose efforts have blessed so many.

Today, we think it strange that a woman would devote herself so unselfishly to editing and publishing her husband's work. But that's the way that Biddy wanted it. She believed that people would see Jesus in Oswald's writings. It's amazing what can be accomplished when we're willing to let God have the credit and are not concerned about our getting the glory.

Friday, April 1, 2011

The Doug Nichols Story

In 1967, Doug Nichols was serving as a missionary in India. When he contracted tubercolosis, he was sent to a sanitarium to recuperate. Though he was not living on much more money than the people from India in the sanitarium, they thought that because he was an American, he had to be rich. Doug said, "They didn't know that I was just as broke as they were."

When he was hospitalized, Doug unsuccessfully tried to reach some of the patients for Christ. When he offered them tracts or Gospels of John, they politely refused. It was obvious that the patients wanted nothing to do with him or his God. Doug grew discouraged and wondered why God had allowed him to be there.

Doug was often be awakened in the night by the sound of coughing from him as well as other patients. But then, what would you expect in the TB ward of a sanitarium? Unable to sleep because of his coughing, early one morning Doug noticed an old man trying to sit on the edge of the bed. But because of his weakness, he would fall back. Exhausted, the old man finally lay still and cried. Early the next morning the same scene repeated itself. Then later in the morning, the smell that began to permeate the room revealed the obvious. The old man had been trying to get up and go to a rest room.

Doug said, "The nurses were very agitated and angry because they had to clean up the mess. One of the nurses even slapped him in anger. The man was completely embarrassed and curled up into a ball and wept." The next morning, Doug noticed the old man was again trying to generate enough strength to get himself out of bed. This time, Doug got out of bed, went over to where the old man was, put one arm under his head and neck, the other under his legs, and gently carried him to the rest room. When he had finished, Doug carried him back to his bed. The old man, speaking in a language that Doug did not understand, thanked him profusely, and then kissed him on the cheek. But the story doesn't end there.

Eventually Doug went back to sleep. In the morning, he awakened to a hot cup of tea served to him by another patient who spoke no English. After the patient served the tea, he made motions indicating that he wanted one of Doug's tracts. Doug said, "All throughout the day, people came to me asking for Gospel tracts." "This included the nurses, hospital interns, the doctors, until everyone in the hospital had a tract, booklet, or Gospel of John." "Over the next few days," he adds, "several told me they trusted Christ as Savior as a result of reading the Good News!"

One final thought: The world doesn't care how much you have or what you know. They want to know how much you care." Doug Nichols said, "I simply took an old man to the bathroom. Anyone could have done that."