This past week, I had the privilege of spending 6-7 hours a day training forty potential church planters at the Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary. These future world-changers represent four countries and hope to plant churches and church planting movements in at least nine countries around the world.
We all have the DNA of Champions
When we are born again, we get a new DNA. God calls it a divine nature (2 Peter 1:4). In Christ, we are more than conquerors (Rom. 8:37) Jesus died to give all of us the DNA of world-changers and history-makers. “Christ in us” gives us the potential to be walking revivals wherever we go. If our new churches are not changing history, could it be that the planters are not fully living out their God-given DNA?
From one church, Christianity spread all over the earth. By the end of the first century, the first church in history grew from people gathered to pray to one million people globally! Think of that, from 120 to 1 million in seventy years.
They made such a difference that their critics and persecutors claimed that they had “turned the world upside down” (Acts 17:6)!
Today, too many churches are merely sustaining and maintaining. They are retreating instead of advancing the gospel through their city and around the world. What if an army of disciples decided to model their lives after the book of Acts and gave their lives to advance the Kingdom of God to birth church planting movements? No doubt we would change the world.
THE DNA OF THE PLANTERS WILL BECOME THE DNA OF THE CHURCH PLANT
Be encouraged, the characteristics of the successful planters in the book of Acts are more about character traits and habits than about personality type, academic achievement, or spiritual gifts. The characteristics of the successful planters in the book of Acts serve as templates for evaluation for aspiring world-changers.
Critical Characteristics of world-changing Church Planters
1. They Were people of prayer (Acts 1:13-14; 3:1;4: 25-31;6:4).
2. They were intentional evangelists (Acts 2:14-40; 3:17-20; 4:31; 8:40; 11:19; 13:5,32-39;14:1,15,21; 17:1-4).
3. They discipled people in the Word (Acts 2:41; 11:26; 18:11; 20:8-10).
4. They WERE risk-takers (Acts 15:25-26).
5. They refused to quit (Acts 4:18-29).
No matter how difficult it got, the first century world-changers would not quit. Even when threatened, they refused to back-up or back-off preaching Jesus. Instead of asking for a lessening of persecution they asked for an increase of boldness!