pi·rate (prt) – One who preys on others; a plunderer.
The early church was characterized by a “concern for all the Churches”. Paul said he faced “daily pressure” and “inwardly burned” out of concern for other churches. The Churches of Macedonia gave sacrificially so that the Gospel would take root in Corinth. At one point Paul actually says, “I robbed other churches by accepting support from them in order to serve you.” Another time Paul is writes to urge the Corinthians to take an offering for the saints in Jerusalem – the mother church.
I don’t see many church planters today that share this type of concern for other churches.
I know a young church planter; we’ll call him Johnny. Johnny was a well-loved associate pastor at the Community Church in his city. The ministry at Community Church had grown rapidly during his tenure and both the staff and the congregation loved Pastor Johnny. After serving at Community Church for a few years Pastor Johnny grew restless and began considering starting a new church. Johnny went to the senior pastor, Bill, to share the news of his new calling. Unlike most senior pastors, Bill responded with excitement. He and promised to do all he could to lead Community Church to support Johnny’s new work. With the endorsement of his Pastor, Johnny began sharing his dream with the rest of the staff and the congregation of Community Church. Excitement started to brew around the church for Johnny’s new ministry. Community Church gave Johnny a “Hunting License” telling him he was free to recruit members from within the congregation to join his core team. As if that wasn’t enough, Community Church promised to support him financially until the church got off the ground. Johnny recruited hard, attempting to gather as much support as possible to launch his new church. When all was said and done Johnny had a team of more than 100 core members from Community Church. Of course, with all the momentum, the new church grew rapidly. Johnny let all the success go to his head. He honestly believed that the success of the ministry was because of his outstanding leadership and charismatic preaching. It wasn’t long before Johnny’s team began returning to Community Church. When they returned they were shocked to find that Community Church was still struggling to recover from the loss of resources and members that left with Pastor Johnny. The members who returned spoke negatively of Johnny’s leadership and warned the members of Community Church against planting more churches. A few years later another man at Community Church felt God’s call to plant a church. With memories of Pastor Johnny still fresh in their minds, Community Church opted not to plant again.
This guy was acting like a pirate! pillaging and plundering his mother ship for booty… it’s disgraceful. It’s ungodly… So church planter… Think a little bit before you act. How are your actions going to effect your sending and supporting churches? Do you even care?
Tomorrow we’ll look at a few things you can do to strengthen the relationship.