Saturday, June 18, 2011

Who Do You Follow?

 1 Corinthians 3:4 For when one says, "I follow Paul," and another, "I follow Apollos," are you not being merely human?

4 ὅταν γὰρ λέγῃ τις· ἐγὼ μέν εἰμι Παύλου, ἕτερος δέ· ἐγὼ Ἀπολλῶ, οὐκ ἄνθρωποί ἐστε;

There is no great exegetical gem to mine from this verse, but there is something very important to address in it. I live near Raleigh, North Carolina and off the top of my head I can think of five megachurches. I was a member of one, went to a seminary tied to another, and am familiar with two more. How do you make a megachurch?

I think that you generally start off with good intentions. You start with a man who wants to reach a community with the gospel. If you're smart you get an idea of the people to whom you want to minister. If you want a megachurch you will target middle and upper middle class people. You will get a sense of what those people want and you will provide it as well as you can without compromising the integrity of the gospel. Here in the Triangle area of North Carolina as I'm sure is true elsewhere, if you want to win the people you start with their kids. We're all about our kids here so if we feel like a church is taking care of them we will attend.

Notice how it all starts. It starts with a man. That man is not Jesus. That man is a personality. I've heard Mike Lee, Stephen Davey, J.D. Greear, and Tyler Jones speak or preach. They are all outstanding communicators. They each have their own styles to be sure, but one common thread is that they are outstanding communicators.

As a former member of Hope Community Church it was my understanding that the Grace Brethren Foundation would not give us the considerable loan we needed to complete our building unless there was a large insurance policy on Mike Lee. In other words, he was considered key to the success of the church.

I am working on planting a church with a man like these men. He is an outstanding communicator and has a way of drawing people to him. I am thoroughly convinced that he could lead a megachurch. However, we have some safeguards in place to keep that from happening.

One is that we intend for me to preach occasionally. We have talked about me preaching 1 out of every 4 Sundays, or once a month. I'm not sure if it will be that frequent, but the point is that I will be visible and they will have to hear from me once in a while. It will not be his church. We want for it to be Christ's church.

The other is that we plan to make Luke 14 part of what we present as the gospel. We want to see people come to Christ. However, we want them to come to Christ with their eyes wide open. We want them to understand that this is not a journey of ease, but of hardship. It means enlisting in a war. But if people want to do that we want to help them. We want to see folks following Christ, not us. Otherwise, this verse could be, "I follow Rob," or "I follow Jason." No, we want followers of Christ.

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