Did you know that you, or just about any believer, could start a disciple-making church? It’s true! Learn more in this new Little Lessons series from David Servant.
- How Just About Any Believer Can Start a Disciple-Making Church (Part 1)
- How Just About Any Believer Can Start a Disciple-Making Church (Part 2)
- How Just About Any Believer Can Start a Disciple-Making Church (Part 3)
- How Just About Any Believer Can Start a Disciple-Making Church (Part 4)
- Where Do Pastors Fit In to the New Testament Church?
How Just About Any Believer Can Start a Disciple-Making Church (Part 1)
In this series we’re going to talk about how just about any believer can start a church, a disciple making church. And before we dive into the how-to’s, we have to first define the terms. Let’s first talk about the kind of church that I’m talking about that just about any believer could start. In the New Testament, the church is referred to in three different ways. And so when you read that word church in the New Testament you need to figure out which of those three ways it is being used.
One is the Church, speaking of the Church universal, Jesus said in Matthew 16, “I will build my church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it.” And so that’s all the believers all around the world. The Church universal.
And then we find the word church used representing all the Christians in a certain city. Paul wrote to the church at Ephesus and the church at Thessalonica and the church at Corinth. Makes you think there’s little doubt that the church in those cities was not just one body that met together on Sunday mornings at the big amphitheaters of the city because we have so much evidence for the third kind of church.
The third way that the word church is used in the New Testament then it is for a church that meets in somebody’s house. And so we’ve got the Church universal, the church in a city representing all the believers in all of the churches, and then you’ve got the most simple form of church that is the house church.
And if you look in the New Testament, you’re going to find lots of examples of references to the churches. The church that meets in so and so’s house and the early church was meeting from house to house. And this shouldn’t surprise us because Jesus said, and he is the Head of the Church universal, making him the Head of the Church regional and the Head of the Church local in houses, Jesus said, “Where two or three are gathered in my name, I am right there in their midst.” And so you can get Jesus in your midst by gathering in his name with two believers. How about that?
And you’ll say, well wait, that doesn’t sound like a church to me. Well, that’s because your understanding of the church is a church in a building. But may I submit to you for your pondering, for your thoughtful consideration, in the New Testament, the book of Acts and all of the epistles and so forth, there were no churches at that time that met in special buildings called churches.
No one in the first century ever said, hey, “Let’s go to church this morning.” Now they might’ve said, let’s go to the church that meets in so and so’s house, but they never referenced this special building that had pews and Sunday school rooms and a steeple and a cross and etc, etc, etc. All right, so that’s the kind of church that I’m talking about that just about any believer can plant.
Now let’s also define the term believer. I’m talking about someone who has truly repented of his or her sins. That is, you hate sin. Now you don’t want to sin anymore because Jesus is your Lord, because what? You believe in him, you believe that he’s the Son of God. You believe that he died on the cross for your sins and you believe that he was raised from the dead and then he’s coming back again. People who believe that, their lives change and for more than just one reason, their lives change because they believe faith without works is dead.
If I believed a tidal wave was coming two miles off the shore, and if I really believed that, I wouldn’t be sitting here talking to you right now, would I? No, because if I believed something devastating was coming, like a tidal wave, I wouldn’t be sitting here calmly, I would be getting to a higher ground. People who believe this are changed because they’re born again, they are new creations in Christ. Old things have passed away and so that’s another reason that true Christians are different.
And then another thing you say is that they are different because Christ has come to live inside of them now. Well, how could God come to live inside of somebody and them not change as a result? Okay?
So how can any, just about any believer plant a church? Well, first of all, you’ve got to be an actual true believer, not just a pseudo believer, not just a cultural Christian, not an American Christian, a real Bible Christian who loves God.
And you may not love him yet with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength. I’m not sure I’ve met anybody who’s attained to that yet, but man, you’re on that path and that’s your heart’s desire. You hunger and thirst for righteousness and you are a different person. Okay? And you know something, even if you’re just a baby Christian, you know something because you can’t be a Christian without knowing something about Jesus. And if you know something, guess what? You can share what you know. All right?
So how can just about any believer start a simple church, a disciple making church? Well, all you need is at least one other person and you need a place to meet. And that shouldn’t be too hard because we got the whole world. You could have church right here on this beach sitting on this log that I’m sitting on right now, this piece of driftwood and you could be having church because Christ said, “Where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there in their midst.”
So that’s pretty exciting. What more do you need if Christ is in your midst? You might say, but wait, wait, wait, what about a God called leader like a pastor? Okay. That’s a very valid question because we know that God has appointed in the church, apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers. And we know that pastors are only mentioned I think once or twice in the whole New Testament. So if you study it out to any degree of thoroughness, you begin to see that in the New Testament church, the word pastor, as it’s mentioned, like in Ephesians and the word elder or overseer or in some old versions a bishop, they’re essentially all the same, describing the same function in the church. And when you look at the requirements for an elder, pastor, overseer, bishop, and so forth, they don’t resemble the requirements that people list today when they’re looking for a new pastor for their big box church.
Okay? Look at them closely, they are in first Timothy and they’re in Titus and so forth, and you see that the qualifications are basically Christian character and devotion and a person who’s striving to be like Christ. They never say that a pastor or elder has to be perfect. If God had to wait for you to be perfect before he’d use you, he could use none of us. All right? Okay. Well, we’re out of time for this Little Lesson. Can’t wait to talk to more about how you or just about any believer could start a simple church. See you next time.
How Just About Any Believer Can Start a Disciple-Making Church (Part 2)
We’ve been on a theme for a while here on Little Lessons about making disciples. I’ve said it before, it bears repetition, every believer in Jesus, every true believer, is a disciple. If you’re not a disciple of Jesus, you’re not a believer. You haven’t believed in Him yet. You may have believed in a version of Jesus, but you haven’t believed in Bible Jesus because Bible Jesus calls us to love Him more than anyone or anything, including even our own lives. Our material possessions, our loved ones, our friends, our family, Jesus is preeminent in the life of the disciple. We’re willing to suffer inconvenience and sacrifice for Him, and even give our lives if He calls us to give our lives, literally give our lives for his sake. Many disciples or believers have done that over the centuries of the church.
All right so we’re all called to be disciples. Of course if you’re called to be a disciple, if you are a disciple, then you want to be involved in making disciples. Why is that? Because Jesus told the 11, because remember Judas defected, Jesus told the 11 “go into all the world, make disciples, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey everything that I commanded you.” N
ow follow the very simple irrefutable logic here. Jesus’s 11 disciples, if they did what he said, made disciples and they taught those disciples to obey everything that he taught them. One of which was go make disciples, baptizing them, teaching them to obey all that I’ve commanded you. The disciple making mandate is binding upon every successive generation of disciples. Disciples make disciples make disciples make disciples. Teaching them to obey everything that Christ commanded. That is what we’re all supposed to be involved in.
Now, we’re still coming out of the Dark Ages because we have this unbiblical idea that there’s a special elite class within the church. We call them the ministers or the clergy, a word I don’t believe you’re going to find anywhere in the texts. These are the guys, sometimes the gals, who have been trained. Now they’ve been to school and they’re professionals, professionals. I mean goodness they’ve been to school some cases seven years, some cases nine years of sitting in a classroom and reading books and listening to lectures and studying Greek and Hebrew, and reading theology. They’ve also probably taken courses in church administration and psychology and all the other skills that are needed to pastor a modern church. You won’t find hardly anything in the Bible that resembles that.
But that’s how it’s all evolved and when you still have that mindset well you just can’t imagine a church without a pastor. But can you imagine two or three people getting together and worshiping God, and discussing the Word, and praying together, and encouraging one another, and admonishing one another, and teaching one another because that’s exactly what the New Testament teaches over and over and over again? Sure. If you’ve got one of those computer concordances I encourage you sometimes to type in the two words, put them in quotation marks so you get them together, “one another” and see how many times that phrase pops up in the New Testament. You’ll find out what God expects us to be doing with one another. There’s not a single place where it says invite one another to church.
It’s things like admonishing one another, encouraging one another, teaching one another, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs and so forth, and making room for the gifts that each other have and benefiting from those gifts, and sharing with one another, and giving to one another. All the things that quite frankly you don’t find a whole lot of in the typical church because you don’t even know the person whose head you’re looking at the back of as you sit there watching what’s going on in the front as done by the professionals.
Do we need pastors? Oh yes, we need pastors. That’s a God called ministry. But it’s not so much positional as it is relational. The word pastor, hey guess what, it means shepherd. The shepherd knows his sheep intimately. A guy who says I’m a pastor of a church of 1,000, come on. You don’t even know all the names of the people, much less know them to disciple them and know where they’re at spiritually. Your relationship with them is primarily one of sermon giver.
But in a simple church where you’ve got a group of people who love Jesus and Jesus is in their midst. Jesus promised if you gather in my name, two or three, I’m there in your midst. If they happen to have a Bible and one of them can read, they can self-feed and they can learn. I mean who can deny that people can learn spiritual truth without an apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor, or teacher in their midst. Now I’m not down playing the benefit of those ministries because they’re God called ministries. I kind of feel like I’m called to be a teacher. That’s kind of why I’m doing what I’m doing right now. But you don’t need me to come to your house and give you a sermon, or come to your church and give you a sermon every Sunday if you have a Bible and a brain and the Holy Spirit, who’s the one who’s going to lead you and guide you into all truth as Jesus said.
Okay I know I’m getting into trouble here, but what am I supposed to do, lie to you? You could start a church, a simple church, a Bible, New Testament church in your house. You only need one other person, but it’s nice to have a few more than that. They’ve got to be real Christians. They’ve got to be hungry. You can start studying the Word together. Now in our next lesson I’m going to give you some pointers on how to actually have a format because we know the goal is to make disciples. So how do you gather with that goal in mind and accomplish that goal? That’s what’s missing from a lot of home fellowships, a lot of home groups, a lot of cell churches and so forth because they’re still stuck in the idea that you grow as a Christian by filling your head with more spiritual knowledge. Jesus is more interested in obedience than he is knowledge.
Okay, out of time. See you next time. God bless you.
How Just About Any Believer Can Start a Disciple-Making Church (Part 3)
Today we’re going to continue talking about how you or just about any Christian could start a New Testament church. Again, I’m not talking about the Church Universal, I’m not talking about starting a church in a city. No, no, no. I’m talking about what we would see over and over again in the New Testament, a church that meets in a house. Or it can meet in a restaurant, it can meet at the beach on a log, it can meet under a tree, and quite frankly, there are more Christians meeting in non-church buildings around the world today than there are Christians who meet in church buildings.
No doubt about that because of the explosion of the church around the world. And if you’re not aware of that, you’re missing out on perhaps the greatest revival that’s ever occurred in the history of humanity and could be the last revival of human history. I encourage you to get involved in it. One way you can get involved in it is to live it out yourself and follow Jesus and actually have real Christian fellowship, not just be a Sunday Christian. I remember there was a song when I was a young Christian, and I forget the lady’s name who wrote the song. It was Ain’t It Grand to be a Christian? And it went, “Ain’t it grand to be a Christian? Ain’t it grand? Ain’t it grand to be a Christian? Ain’t it grand? On Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and all day Sunday. Grand to be a Christian, ain’t it grand?”
I’m glad that that song included Monday through Saturday Christianity, but it was kind of funny about all day Sunday. We can be Christians all day, every day. Praise God. And follow Jesus and obey him every day, and we can meet with other Christians that have true Koinonia fellowship, where we’re teaching and admonishing, and we’re growing spiritually as a result. But if you’re a spiritual Christian, you probably have experienced this phenomena that I’m talking about right now, where you’ve gotten together with other believers, maybe just a handful, and maybe it was at a restaurant, maybe you were just eating pie, or sitting on someone’s back porch, and you were discussing how God is working in your life or what God’s been teaching you, or you were listening to someone else tell you about that, and you maybe ended up in prayer for one another, and you said to yourself, “My goodness. This was more like what I think church ought to be than what I experience on Sunday morning when I’m sitting there looking at the back of somebody’s head and listening to a sermon, which I’m not sure how it has anything to do with my life.”
Okay. Now, you may think, “You’re just down on those big box churches.” No, I’m not down on those big box churches, but there’s no big box churches in the New Testament, so get ready to stand before Jesus and talk about that, especially if you haven’t really been making disciples. Again, the church model that some of us, most of us, are so familiar with is not biblical. It’s mostly Pagan in its origins. It’s still coming out of the Dark Ages when we have this clergy. What’s the point of the so-called clergy of which that word is not mentioned in the New Testament? The reason that God has given apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers is for what? According to Paul and the book of Ephesians, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry.
So pastor or teacher, if you’re not doing that, what are you going to say when you stand before Jesus? “I gave sermons. People loved me. A lot of people came every Sunday.” Oh great. Did you equip the saints for the work of the ministry? “Well, yes I did. I gave sermons and told them what to do.” Did they do it? No. They didn’t. Oh okay, well I guess you didn’t succeed. Now, let me tell you about a format that you can use if you want to start a disciple making, simple church in your house, or on the beach, or wherever you are, when you get two or three where Jesus is in your midst. And this is a format that could work in any church setting, but it can’t work in a big church because it’s so relational. It can only be in a small group.
You break your gathering into three sections. Looking back, looking up, and looking forward. I’m going to start with the looking up, because then you can understand the looking forward and the looking back part. When we look up, we look at the scripture, and we’ve chosen a passage to read, so many verses where it’s one section of sorts. You’re not going to read an entire book in the Bible. You might not even read a whole chapter. But you’re reading something that’s relevant.
Probably it’s in the New Testament, right? Old Testament is just as inspired, but if you’re going to start anywhere, better to start with the New Testament. Maybe start with what Jesus said. How can you go wrong there? And you read it, and then you go around your circle of two, three, four, five, six, seven people, whatever, and you stop and say, “What do you like about that?” Then you ask the question, “What do you find challenging about that?” It might be, “I don’t understand this sentence.” Okay, great. Guess what? Nobody fully understands everything in the Bible, and those that pretend to, they’re self-deceiving, or they’re deceiving you.
Then, “What does this passage teach us about God?” Because that’s who we want to get to know. “What does this passage teach us about people?” Because we’re the people and we want to understand us and our relationship with God and what he expects of us. Go around the circle and you discuss those four questions for however long you need to, however much time you have. 20 minutes, 15 minutes, half hour. Who knows? It doesn’t make any difference. And you’re probably going to get some truth without having a pastor present. Oh my goodness, perish the thought that we could actually learn something without somebody lecturing us because we have Jesus!
Guess what? Your pastor gets his sermons from that Bible, hopefully, so can’t you get some truth out of that Bible? Do you ever read it yourself? Might it be possible that one of the people in your group has insight that you don’t have? Possibly. But you’re going to get something out of that. You’ve looked up. Now, you’re going to keep looking up by going to the Lord in prayer because we all know the Lord answers prayers, especially prayers that are like, “Lord, show me what you want me to do.” When does God never answer that prayer? And we have the Holy Spirit in us to lead us and guide us, so we’re in pretty good shape here to be hearing something from God that agrees with his word.
So now, “Lord, we’ve read your word, speak to us what you would like us to do.” And it might be so plain because when you read a commandment from Christ, you don’t have to wonder what he wants you to do, it’s what he said to do. Do what he said to do. But how are you going to specifically apply it in your life? So whatever you studied that day in your little gathering, say, “Lord, how do you want me to apply this in my life starting immediately?” And everybody prays. Maybe you spend five, 10 minutes just praying quietly or silently, and then you look forward, and I’m going to talk about that in the next Little Lesson when we’ve gathered again, we talk the next time. We look forward because we’re going to now look at how we’re going to apply what we just learned. You don’t find that often happening in too many churches.
Okay. Thanks for joining me. See you next time.
How Just About Any Believer Can Start a Disciple-Making Church (Part 4)
Today we’re going to keep talking about how any of us who are true believers in Jesus and who love him and are trying to obey him could start and lead or participate in a simple church. A simple church is a very Biblical church because we find many examples in the New Testament of churches that meet in people’s houses. Right? Right. I’ve already said this. There’s no example of any church meeting in a big box, a special church building. We’ve got to rethink a lot of things in light of the New Testament because what Jesus wants is disciples.
We’ve established that pretty clearly, haven’t we? He wants disciples, people who follow and obey his commandments. That’s the goal, and that’s what Jesus wants. If you’re not involved in being a disciple and making a disciple, then you have no reason to call yourself a Christian. You’re in sad, sad, sad shape. Sadly, there are a lot of people going to church every Sunday. There are pastors who are leading churches every Sunday who aren’t involved in making disciples, and they’re not even disciples themselves. How can you make a disciple if you’re not a disciple, if you’re not committed to Jesus and love him above everything else? How can you be a part of a New Testament church?
Well, I’ve talked about this now three times in a row. If you missed the first three, I’d encourage you to go back because starting in the last Little Lesson, we’re talking about a format that you can use when you gather. People say, “What will be the order of our service?” Well, you’re done with services, honey. There are no services. This is life. This is spontaneity with the help of the Holy Spirit and letting human beings actually be human beings. The performance days are done, honey. You don’t have to prepare a sermon. You don’t have to prepare a song list. All you got to know is where you’re meeting, what time it starts, and bring a Bible and bring the Holy Spirit. You can not help but bring the Holy Spirit if you’re a believer in Jesus because he goes with you everywhere. He’s in you. Right? Right.
Now, you’re gathered together, and you break up your gathering into three segments. You can do this with two people. “Where two or three are gathered in my name, there I am right in their midst.” You can do this with three, four, five, six, seven, eight people. You can’t do more than 10 or 12. It gets pretty crowded at that point in time. You, first of all, look back. Then, you look up. Then, you look forward. Now, on the last Little Lesson, I talked about that part about looking up, where you study the scripture together. Everybody participates. They answer four questions. What do you like? What do you find challenging? What does this teach us about God? What does this teach us about people?
You’ve got revelation. You’ve got truth going. Hallelujah. You didn’t have a pastor there. You didn’t watch some guy on a video, some professional guy. You went right to the source, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, Paul, Peter, James, John. You got some truth. You say, “Well, what if we don’t understand something?” Well, just say, “I don’t understand that.” God doesn’t hold you accountable to do what you don’t understand, but focus on what you do understand. You might read a passage of scripture and half of it’s foggy to you. Say, “Lord, help the fog here, but thanks for what you made clear. I’m going to apply that.” You’ve arrived at some understanding. You’ve talked about what God is saying to us here. Now it’s time to do something.
This is what separates what I’m talking about from happens in most Christian gatherings because you might hear convicting sermons in churches, but never do we go to this next step, to the degree at least that we’re going to go to the next step. Now we’re going to look forward. We all talk about how this verse or passage impacted me and what I’m going to do because we just spent some time in prayer, looking up and asking God, “What do you want me to do in response to what we’ve just read here? I don’t want your Word to return to you void, Lord, so what do you want me to do this week? Not someday, this week, what do you want me to do?” Everybody listens to the Holy Spirit and to the best of their ability tries to hear the Holy Spirit speak within them.
Sometimes it’s like a no-brainer because, again, if Jesus gave a commandment, you don’t have to pray about, “What do you want me to do, Lord?” He wants you to do what he said. Then, you go around the circle one last time. “What did God say to you?” “Well, I think God wants me this week to A, B, C.” The next person says, “Well, I believe God’s telling me that I need to do…” So somebody maybe writes it down so you can remember because we’re actually serious. We’re actually intentional about obeying Jesus, and we want to hold each other accountable because we love each other, and we want to admonish each other and encourage one another and share with one another and help each other grow. Oh my goodness. What revolutionary ideas. You close. You might pray for one another if anyone has any needs or so forth or whatever.
This is the real deal. The next time you come back, you start with looking back. That’s the first third of your gathering. You look back, and you say, “Hey, Amy. Last time you said that, you know, in response to what we studied in God’s word, you said that you were going to start, whatever. How’d it go? Because you said you were going to do it. You said that’s what the Holy Spirit said. How’d it go?” Amy says, “Well, it actually went pretty well. I made a step closer to Jesus. I said I was going to be more devoted in my prayer life or something. I was going to share the gospel with Aunt Jenny or I was going to volunteer some time at the homeless shelter,” or whatever you said you were going to do as a follower of Christ.
“How’d it go?” “It went pretty good. Okay, now it’s your turn, Jim. You said last time you were going to thus and so. How’d it go?” “Well, I got to confess. I didn’t do it. I was scared.” “Well, that’s okay because we love you and you just did what the Bible said, confess your sins one to another because we love each other and we’re all growing in grace. We all know we’re struggling here, so we don’t have to put on any airs or facades or be the phony masked Christian that comes to church on Sunday. We can be real. We’re in a trusting environment with the few people that we know love us. We’ve already committed that we’re not going to be gossiping about each other outside of this. That’s okay, Jim, but do you still believe the Lord wants you to do that?”
“Yeah, yeah.” “Okay. Is there any way we can help you? Because I went through that about two years ago. It was a little tough for me too, but I ultimately succeeded. Maybe I could model it for you. Maybe we could spend some time together this week and I can show you how I do that,” or whatever it might be. We’re making disciples, and we’re discipling just using a simple format of looking back, looking up, and looking forward. We’re intentional in our growth in Christ. This is what church is supposed to be. You say, “Where do pastors, elders fit into all this?” Well, I’m going to talk about that a little bit more in our next Little Lesson. You don’t want to miss it. See you then. Bye, bye.
Where Do Pastors Fit In to the New Testament Church?
We’ve been talking about church in its simplest form, and how any Christian can start a simple church because it doesn’t require a building, it doesn’t require any salaries, or staff members, or worship teams, or programs, and all that kind of stuff. It’s just stripped down to the barest essentials of what the New Testament teaches church is. What Jesus taught, “Where two or three are gathered in my name.” See, obviously Jesus envisioned that that would be happening, right? That’s not just numbers he pulled out of the air that are a meaningless example. No, Jesus envisioned that there would be gatherings of two or three in his name, and that he would be there in their midst in a special way, and it would be blessed. If you’ve ever experienced that, you know it’s absolutely delightful.
We know that the Bible talks about the fact that God has appointed for the church apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, teachers, and so forth. So where do pastors fit into the simple church? Well, first of all, if he was a biblical pastor, he knows that his first responsibility is to be making disciples who make disciples. Who make disciples. Who make disciples, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. Most pastors aren’t doing that. They’re getting people to come and listen to them month after month, year after year, and they want them to stay listening forever sitting there in the pew. They don’t of course. They get disgruntled, or tired, or whatever, and move on eventually. But that’s what most pastors seem to be all about. Getting people to come and listen to them. They’re not making disciples who make disciples, who make disciples, who make disciples.
That’s square one. The model that we see of the pastor today is not a biblical model. Read the qualifications for elders, which is equivalent to a pastor. Those are synonymous terms in the New Testament, elders, pastors, overseers. They’re all synonymous. I can prove that very easily by looking at all those passages. Okay. What we see today doesn’t resemble that because all the things that Paul listed in Titus and Timothy for the qualifications to be elders, it’s all character issues, spiritual maturity issues, nothing to do with personal charisma and outstanding leadership capabilities, and administering a church. Oh my goodness, it’s all about making disciples, and so dear pastor, are you making disciples? If you’re not, when you stand before Jesus, you’re going to be really regretting that you didn’t make disciples, and you make disciples the way Jesus made disciples.
He preached sermons, sure, but he modeled them before a small group, and he poured himself deeply into a small group. Ultimately it multiplied exponentially. That’s the plan of God. Where do pastors fit into simple churches? Well, they might be leading a simple church temporarily until another leader arises. Maybe something like that. Or they might be meeting with leaders of simple churches that they planted, and having an ongoing discipling relationship with their disciples because it stands to reason that if you’re going to disciple someone, you’ve got to be ahead of them at least by a little bit. Right? So if you have an ongoing discipling relationship as your disciples come to you with questions, as they’re leading their simple churches, as they’re growing, as maybe they’re planting new churches, you see it like a pyramid of sorts that just keeps expanding and expanding. There are multiple of these pyramids within the big pyramid of the church.
Pastors find their delight in discipling those who they then are essentially duplicating themselves into. That’s where pastors fit in. They are, according to Ephesians, equipping the saints for the work of ministry. So if the people that you’re ministering to aren’t ministering themselves, you’re failing. You’re not doing what you’re supposed to do. You’re not equipping them for the work of service. In the format that I described in our last Little Lesson, which if you missed that one, well when you finish this one, go back to that one. Because I talked about the format for accomplishing that in a small group setting where you look back, you look up, and you look forward. It’s a beautiful system of love and accountability and intentionality to grow.
I speak from some degree of experience here, and more on the wrong side than the right side because I spent 20 years of my life trying to be something that the Bible says doesn’t really exist. That is being a pastor of a box church where I was the jack of all trades. I was the attraction. People came to the church because they liked me, and when they stopped liking me, that’s when they left. I’ve been there, done that. I know what I’m talking about, and I’ve asked God to forgive me for those years where I was giving sermons, and trying to get more people to come so I could think I was successful. Oh God, have mercy on everybody who’s still doing that, and there are many. I asked God to forgive me for that. As I shared my church journey, you can go back quite a few Little Lessons now, and you can hear about my story.
But today I’m a part of a simple church. We gather together, and we look back at what we said we were going to do after the last time we gathered. Then we look up to see what God’s saying to us now. Then we look forward to see how we’re going to react to what God has just revealed to us. Okay? So am I a pastor? I’m not looking for titles, and Jesus is against this title thing, right? He explicitly said, “Don’t call anybody ‘father’. Don’t be letting anybody call you ‘teacher’ or ‘leader’ because you’ve got one Father, one teacher, one leader. That’s God your Father.”
The same thing with all the rest of these titles that everyone’s trying to use. “Well, I’m a bishop.” “I’m a senior bishop. Call me ‘pastor’ so and so. Call me ‘apostle’ so and so. Call me ‘prophet’.” You won’t find that in the New Testament. Paul never gave himself a title of “apostle”. Come on. He said, “Paul, called as an apostle.” That’s the ministry that I’ve been entrusted with. It’s not a title. You don’t always put the word “apostle” in front of the word “Paul” because that’s the title of respect that I deserve as the professional here.
I know I’m getting into trouble here, but I’m 60 years old, and I don’t have a whole lot to worry about at this point in time. Hallelujah. All right? It’s all the Bible folks. It’s always been the Bible. We are going to stand before Jesus one day, and it’s going to be about how we did what he said to do, not how we did with traditions that came from the Dark Ages. Right? Right. Jesus is against tradition when it contradicts his Word. We think, “Oh, we’re the New Testament Christians.” Well then why are you doing so many things that aren’t in the Bible? All right. Well, we’re out of time. God bless you. Thank you for joining me. I hope to see you next time.