Church Planting in Philippi Reveals Heart

church plantingLosing My Religion Day Two:

Church Planting in Philippi Reveals My Heart

A study in Philippians changed my life.  We joined in the series a few weeks after it began. It was so impactful. I went back and listened to the entire series.  Twice.  You can listen here, if you like.

Regarding Joy Part 1 

Losing My Religion will not be a series of sermon notes, but it is inspired by the revelation of God’s word through the series.  It will demonstrate how these sermons illuminated my sin, surfaced deeply buried emotions and led me to repentance with a deep understanding of what it means to follow Christ.

Target Demographic

I went to Bible college, I was a missions major.  I studied a great deal about how to enter a culture, be respectful, and how to plant churches.  I am no expert on church planting, but I know a few best practices.

My sophomore year, one class had a project that involved interviewing people of target demographic. There was a large Somali population surrounding the university, so some people chose Somali immigrants.  The neighborhood was poor, so there were other demographics in the neighborhood. I remember my friend saying that he wanted to target those who travel for business, and are likely financially successful.  He thought that too much emphasis was placed by the church on the poor. I think that was the first time I ever heard an argument for targeting (what turned out to be) white, wealthy, suburban people.

Church Planting in Philipi 

Paul intended to go elsewhere, but God thwarted those plans and led him to Philipi. Paul had a pattern that he often used in speed the gospel, it didn’t work in Philippi. There weren’t enough Jews to go speak in a synagogue, so he went to an area near water.  Perhaps he was looking for those who were cleansing ceremonially.  He found a woman, Lydia who became a convert to Christ.  Later he healed a demon-possed gal and wound up in prison.  In prison, they were praising God when an earthquake hit, they stayed with the jailer, whom they saved from suicide and became a believer.

We see that Paul followed Christ, even when it wasn’t what he thought the plan out to be.  Out of this came the Philippian church, and this series is a study of Paul’s letter to the believers there.

“What you want to do, is you want to see what God is doing and ride that wave.”

My Conviction

As I mentioned in the first post in this series, I found my self disappointed when my plans didn’t come about.  I was certain that everything I was longing for was godly and good and full of altruism. Reflecting on the foundation of the church of Philippi reminded me that, in fact, my views on how things should be done were more a product of theory, discussion and church growth ideas.  My views on planting and growing churches was like my view on God’s plan for my life. My ideas of how it should be were based on selfish ambition (even though the ambition of being a pastor’s wife or missionary may seem lowly, it was still founded in SELF.

I walk away from this sermon ashamed of my selfishness, open to the work of the Holy Spirit and willing to go where God leads.  I make plans and pursue them, but at the beginning, middle and end of it all I want to follow God, for his character and beauty to be shown. What I desire, what I dream are all subject to the Lord.

And You?

Have you ever considered this topic in light of how you make plans and follow Jesus?

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