When Does Replanting End?
It has been exactly one year since we met in the Social Hall on Sunday morning, and I preached Nehemiah ch.1, and I called us to replant our church. We saw Nehemiah's brokenness over the state of Jerusalem, his sincere repentance and prayer, followed by his strategic plan to rebuild. This is what we have been doing for the past 12 months. We spent the first four months praying and fasting, followed by the development of a replant team, which consisted of 10 individuals meeting twice a month to uncover the Biblical blueprints of Jesus' church. Around April, we began the implementation stage: facility updates, evangelism, volunteer recruitment, refreshing the membership roll, writing a new constitution, and developing Core Doctrine and Small Group ministries. On top of that, we have not stopped praying and have been preaching replant-influenced sermons. We preached about overcoming anxiety, evangelism & missions, prayer, worship, church leadership/polity, and many other topics. While all this has been going on, we joyfully received three new families into the body, a total of 11 new members. And we had two new babies! There's more than one way to make disciples!
We are now moving quickly toward the "relaunch" phase. In this portion of the replant, we "launch" our new weekly worship schedule, adopt a new guiding constitution, vote on an official membership, and reaffirm the covenant of the church. We will also be looking to install elders, per our new elder-led congregational model. I am honestly so excited about all these things and more optimistic than ever about the future of our church. I can't wait to build deeper relationships in our small groups. I can't wait to affirm godly men as elders to equip the saints and teach the Word along side me. I can't wait to study the Scriptures and different theological topics in our Core Doctrine classes. I can't wait to learn new songs, see new leaders rise up, preach through more books of the Bible, make disciples in our community, develop new mission strategies and partnerships, finish all the facility updates, bring new sheep into the fold, and a host of other new things we will be doing together. This is truly the phase where we put the tree in the ground and see what the Lord will do.
I know that the "replanting" language has been confusing for some. It's a relatively new term, but something that churches have been doing forever. Some churches die; some churches replant. We didn't want to die, so we asked the Lord to replant us, and to give us motivated hearts that are after His glory and the good of His church. So we had to recognize in this process that the water, soil, and sunlight we had wasn't working. Things had to change if we were going to have a future together in Spindale. Thus, we prayed and thought through what Biblical treatment we could pour on this "old tree." We are prepared to pour out that new soil, water, and sunlight now. However, it needs to be said that this isn't a simple recipe for church health, where we just throw everything in a pot and somehow a cake comes out. Things will change in October, but that doesn't mean replanting ends. Replanting is not a light switch, but a mode of thinking. We are replanting the tree, but we still have to pray and work for good fruit. Jesus cursed the fig tree in Matthew 21 because it was all leaves - no fruit. If we don't follow through on all these initiatives, it will have been a failed project, one that does not please Jesus.
So what happens next? More of the same! Transforming hearts, treasuring Christ, and teaching truth! The replanting language will eventually dissolve on it's own, as long as we are faithful to bear fruit. We refuse to be a stagnant church full of flashy leaves. 2022 will determine whether or not we truly understand the implications of replanting. Will you continue feeding this plant that God has given us to take care of? Will you help us bear fruit for the pleasure of Christ?