Many, if not most people, involved in a church family that is healthy might scratch their head when asked about starting a new church – Why would we do that? Our church is a good one, why don’t they all just come here?
There are many considerations on this topic but one that blows my mind is related to this: Do I really understand the nature or essence of this living ‘thing’ we call the church?
1 Thessalonians 1:7-8: “so that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia. For the word of the Lord has sounded forth from you, not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith toward God has gone forth, so that we have no need to say anything.” (NASB)
Paul tells us the word of the Lord sounded forth from the local church in Thessalonica into Macedonia and Achaia. One day that intrigued me more than it every had before. So, delving deeper, I googled the geographic area of Macedonia and Achaia. I found out by looking at a series of maps that approximated the regional boundaries etc that Macedonia and Achaia is an area about 42,000 square miles.
That intrigued me even further. Ohio, for example, has a geographic area of about 40,000 square miles. Paul is telling me that the Word of the Lord sounded forth (in some way) into a region larger than Ohio!
What that tells me is this: the local church where the gospel is alive and the Word of God is clear is utterly amazing!
Do I really believe that my local church in Ohio, for example, has the DNA to reach all of Ohio, in some form! That is awesome!
I want to be a part of that!
So, every time we are able to start a new church, this is what we are doing! We are, from a human perspective, starting this living organism – the local church – to whom Jesus gives this incredible capacity! How amazing it that?
BUT, I really need to understand and have at least some idea –how about you? Where would you like to put this amazing thing called the church?