At our initial West Valley PCA church plant gathering on Sunday night, I tried to be intentionally vague about most things while annoyingly clear about other things. For example: where will we worship? vague shrug. When exactly will we begin? vague shrug (with clearly stated ‘launch indicators’) What kind of music? vague shrug. Frequency of the Lord’s Table? vague shrug. Interestingly, I have my hopes and convictions about each of those things… but they are not for now… nor is this church plant enterprise about my hopes.
One of the things that I hope to make excitably clear is that the West Valley PCA project will NOT be about one church planter who (by God’s grace) ministers among core group, out of which a launch team is formed. Rather, the kingdom prayer is that God would CALL church planters (plural) to engage our neighborhoods with the gospel and Christ incarnate through the body of the church. I failed, in the midst of the details, to share a text that invigorates me in this regard.
Isaiah 32 speaks of the King. God’s King. The King whose kingdom we are to be praying would come to earth in justice and mercy and extravagant unconditional gospel-love.
32:1 – Behold, a king will reign in righteousness.
But as the text moves on to describe his rule… it includes his people! … and princes will rule in justice. EACH will be like a hiding place from the wind, a shelter from the storm, like strams of water in a dry place, like the shade of a great rock in a weary land.
Notice, it is not merely the King who is the hiding place from the wind. His kingdom is made up of princes (plural) who shelter others from life’s storm and brokenness, who are like streams of water bringing satisfaction to the people in our dry and despairing world; our weary land! The picture, for me, is one of Christ being the King of a kingdom made up of princes who PLANT the benefits of his glorious kingdom in our weary context (wherever that might be).
The translation into church planting is simply in the plurality of planters, much the same as the plurality of princes! O God, would you call out churchplanters, such that “EACH will be like a hiding place from the wind (for their neighbors being blown like tumbleweed), a shelter from the storm (for their family and friends who are sick and tired of being beaten be the storms of guilt and family distress, etc), like streams of water in a dry and weary land (in Emmaus and Lower Macungie and all of the West Valley). May your work be so ‘pluralized’ among church planter(s) that we embody one unified Christ-centered community!