Wanted, Builders of
New Testament Baptist Churches
by Pastor John Reaves
"For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building. According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ." I Cor. 3:9 -11
Wanted, builders of New Testament Baptist Churches. Must meet all of the qualifications as laid out in I Tim. 3: 1-7: "This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work. A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach; Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous; One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?) Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil. Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil."
Must be called of God, trained, ordained, and sent out by a local, Independent Baptist Church, Acts 13:1-4, "Now there were in the church that was at Antioch certain prophets and teachers; as Barnabas, and Simeon that was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen, which had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them. And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away. So they, being sent forth by the Holy Ghost, departed unto Seleucia; and from thence they sailed to Cyprus."
Must be well educated in the word of God, II Tim. 2:15, "Study to show thyself approved unto God,[not unto man] a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth."
A degree is not necessary, "But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise;" I Cor. 1:27a.
Must be well learned in hardships, and willing to suffer, "Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need." Phil. 4:11-12 .
Teachers need not apply; II Tim. 4:3, "For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;"
Must be willing to preach under hard situations, II Tim. 4:2, "Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine."
The want ad is out, the problem is, there are but few applying. City after city, town after town across North America without any solid works. The Bible college where I attended boasted of starting hundreds of churches a year. But when you checked it out that was not the case.
Where are the church planters? We have but few churches started. What we have are preachers going from church to church, staying an average of two years; going to churches that have a terrible testimony in their community. And most think that trying to revive a dead church is easier than starting a new one. And that is because they have been taught the wrong way of starting churches.
I have heard of horror stories from preachers who have taken on new pastorates. Stories of deacon run churches, finances in a mess, bill collectors, former pastors running off with other women, and the stories go on. If the truth was known concerning many of those churches, Ichabod has been written over the doors for many years, the glory of the Lord has departed. They have brought so much reproach to the cause of Christ many just need to die.
What we need to do is stop trying to revive dead ones and start new ones. Let the dead bury the dead.
We need a zeal like the early church had, and a desire to go out and establish churches. The churches in Damascus, in Antioch, the ones in Samaria, in Judea, those all over Asia Minor and Europe just didn’t happen. There had to be those that were willing to answer the ad, willing to suffer, and pay the price.
Where are the church planters? Many have been taught wrong concerning starting or building a church. They have some misconceived idea pertaining to building a New Testament Baptist Church. If our young preachers are ever going to go out and build churches, they are going to have to be taught some things.
They are going to have to be taught, who the builder is. I have known many broken preachers, some who became so discouraged because of the ministry, that they quit. They considered themselves failures. They tried and could not do it.
Most likely their training was focused on the man, how to build a Sunday School running five hundred, how to..., how to... All the focus on the man but never taught who the real builder is. Jesus said in Matthew 16:18, "And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, [a little rock] and upon this rock [a large boulder] I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it."
Jesus Christ is the builder and He is not a failure. Physically speaking in Matthew 13:55, there is no coincidence that he is referred to as "...the carpenter's son..."
Heb. 3:4 says, "For every house is builded by some man; but he that built all things is God."
New and young preachers are going out to build new works with the confidence in themselves, that they can do it. They are the ones who will fall flat on their faces. They will be the failures and quitters. Ps. 27:1 says, "...Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it..."
If we are going to build lasting works we are going to have to teach who the builder is. It is the Lord’s work. Let Him do His part and we do ours.
His part is, "...I will build my church..." and our part, "Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me." Isa. 6:8.
The problem is, send me where? The Lord does the calling and between the Holy Spirit and the church, they do the sending, in Acts 13:1-4, it was the Holy Spirit who said, "...Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them..."
It is not the church’s place to tell a preacher where to go and start a work. Their part is in the sending. It is the Lord, through His Holy Spirit that directs His man on where to go.
I am convinced that most discouragement in the ministry today is a result of the man of God not being where he should be. Why are the Bible Institutes and Colleges not teaching young preachers the importance of making sure they go where the Lord wants them to go? Instead they teach them to choose a church based on benefits, buildings and budgets.
If God’s man does not end up where he is supposed to be, there will be failure. According to I Cor. 14:33, "...God is not the author of confusion,..." and what we see today is confusion. Pastors jumping from one church to another, missionaries changing fields, Europe to Africa, etc... God is not in this. This is confusion. I know of a preacher who has supposedly been called to nine mission fields and still does not know where God wants him. Needless to say, he has done nothing.
What preachers need to do is get alone with God, find out where he wants them and go there. Because there is where He wants to build a work. He is the builder, we just need to find where He wants to build. "I will build my church."
Things happen when you’re where God wants you to be. In Acts 16, Paul and Silas with direction by the Holy Spirit went to Philippi. There they find Lydia, a worshipper of God. She and her household was baptized, and a church started. A jailer is saved with his household and baptized. That my friend, is what happens when you’re where God wants you.
But what we find today is pastors and missionaries going somewhere, possibly where their pastor or church sent them, and after wasted years, not to mention wasted money, they pack up and leave. God is not in that.
Young Preachers, claim Jeremiah 33:3, "Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not."
So if our young preachers are going to go out and build churches, we are going to have to teach them who the builder is.
We are going to have to teach them God’s method of building.
I was at a preacher’s meeting some years back and I had a young preacher come up to me and ask this question, "Brother Reaves, I know that Canada is a hard field, how did you build such a good work?" Of course my automatic reply was, "I didn’t." But really what he was asking was, "What was your method, your plan?"
Many preachers have the idea that there is some kind of magical plan or method out there, and if they could but find it, they could build a large church.
That is why they rush out to the west coast to "Shepherd's School". Maybe that is the method, stop preaching on the blood, that is offensive; stop door knocking, that offends; take the name "Baptist" off your church. And if you follow MacArthur’s heresies then you can build a large work. And if that does not work, you can go to Indiana for Pastor’s School and learn how not to preach the Bible. Learn how to tell sad stories to make people cry and be emotional so by doing you can fill your church up with emotionally disturbed people. And not to mention how to learn how to organize the Holy Spirit right out of your church.
If all else fails, you can join the Willow Creek Association. Then you can learn how to entertain your congregation with "Christian rock" music, multimedia side shows, and how not to have an altar call.
There is hardly a week that goes by that I do not receive some literature on, "how to" build a church.
But you will not build a work, a lasting work, on man’s methods. How can a work be built? It must be built God’s way and no other way.
What is His way? In the book of Acts 2:14, "But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words;" Peter begins preaching the Word; verses 37-40, gives the invitation and in verse 41, three thousand were added to the church. Now that’s a method that should be followed. II Tim. 4:2 says, "Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine." God’s method, "Preach the word;" A strong work will never be built substituting preaching with movies, plays, and others sorts of entertainment. Paul said to the elders in Acts 20:17-28, "And from Miletus he sent to Ephesus, and called the elders of the church. And when they were come to him, he said unto them, Ye know, from the first day that I came into Asia, after what manner I have been with you at all seasons, Serving the Lord with all humility of mind, and with many tears, and temptations, which befell me by the lying in wait of the Jews: And how I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have showed you, and have taught you publicly, and from house to house, Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ. And now, behold, I go bound in the spirit unto Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall befall me there: Save that the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions abide me. But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God. And now, behold, I know that ye all, among whom I have gone preaching the kingdom of God, shall see my face no more. Wherefore I take you to record this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men. For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God. Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood."
Pastors are to feed the flock and when the flock gets fed, they grow. A lazy preacher will not build a strong church. His number one responsibility to his flock is to feed them. Jesus asked Peter in John 21:16, "...Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep."
I would not give you a dime for a lazy pastor who refuses to feed his flock. It is just a sign that he is not in love with Jesus Christ. And if he doesn’t love Christ, he can not love the flock. He is nothing more than an hireling.
God’s method, Preach the Word, feed the flock, Acts 5:42 tells us something else concerning God’s method in building New Testament Baptist Churches, "And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ." God’s method, "...daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ." And my brethren, you cannot improve on that.
Some say, "Going door to door does not work any more, we must find a new way." So what we have is mass mail outs, Bible studies, give aways, you name it. They cancel visitation and in doing so their people are found to have no burden and have no part in the great commission.
Who says it doesn’t work? Ask the Mormons or the J.W.s, they will tell you, it works.
My reply to those that say door knocking doesn’t work, "You’re making God out to be a liar." Psalm 126:6, "He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him." What did it say? "...shall doubtless..." It works, we cannot improve on God’s methods because they work.
If young preachers are going to go out and build churches they are going to have to be taught who the builder is and God’s method of building.
They must also be taught, If God is going to do the building, the glory must go to him. I Cor. 1:27-29, "But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: That no flesh should glory in his presence." God shares His glory with no one. All glory for what is done must go to him.
If you want to stop God from building just start taking credit for the work. We must not forget, "For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure." As for the work here in Brandon, Manitoba, I can take no credit. No more than I can take credit for getting a half million dollar building for $70,000 and having it paid for. All glory goes to God. And as long as He continues getting the glory He will keep on building. "Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name;..." Ps. 29:2.
Simply if you give God the credit, He does it. If you take credit, you’re doing it and it won’t last.
I believe what we have today in many cases is the Tower of Babel syndrome, "...Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name,..." Gen. 11:4. Many preachers brag about their work and what they have done.
We are not to make ourselves a name, "But he that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord." II Cor. 10:17; Gal. 6:14.
The Lord Jesus Christ is the builder, "I will build my church..." but He needs tools to build with, and we can be those tools. He can use us to build a work for His name sake. "Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen." Eph. 3:20-21.
Wanted, Builders of New Testament Baptist Churches. And in order to build, preachers need to be taught who the builder is, how he builds, and when he does build a work through us; give Him the glory for it. Don’t rob God of the credit. Preacher, God wants to build a work through you. Get out of His way and let Him do it.
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