How does a church come into existence? The Bible describes a local church as a living organism. Paul said, “Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.” (1 Corithians 12:27) Everything living has a birth. So we are talking about the birth of a church. How is a church born?
I remember hearing many times in college that “churches start churches.” It makes sense that something living would give birth to something just like itself. Dogs have more dogs, bunnies have a lot more bunnies, and so churches give birth to more churches. When I was faced with starting Open Door Baptist Church, the situation did not open to having a church send us out or parent the new church.
Though sometimes I may have my doubts about starting without an active sending church, God still began Open Door Baptist Church of Alamogordo, NM. There was no way I could bring together all the miracles that it took to start this wonderful church. I think about the starting of Open Door Baptist Church, and a thought crosses my mind. If sometimes children are born that were not planned or intended, what if the actions or circumstances of one church gave birth unintentionally to a new local church? We did not work to split a church. Only the Lord knows how much we worked to ensure we did not steal anyone away any other churches. But the Lord had made it clear to us that Open Door Baptist Church would start. An unintentional birth came to pass, and a new living church was started.
I cannot dwell in the past or on what I could have done in the beginning. Nor would I want to undo the souls who have been saved and the decisions that have been made over the past 2 years. Yet, over the past several months I have considered the teaching about churches starting churches. I have come to some conclusions.
1. A church started from a church is God’s perfect plan
While sometimes churches are started without the direct oversight and investment of a sending church, I am beginning to see where God blesses when the parent gets involved in the birth and development of the new local church. Both in the ministry and teachings of Paul, you find a desire on his part to see new churches to have that tie to other churches. Paul told Titus, “For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee:” (Titus 1:5)
2. A new church must be able to submit
How can a church lead their community to Christ until it first learns to follow? The baby church learns submission in the process of working under the counsel and investment of the parent church.
3. A new church needs accountability
The truth is every church and every pastor could use someone that will help keep them accountable. While ultimately we are accountable to Jesus Christ, there is a great blessing to be had when we allow ourselves to be accountable to someone we trust. James said, “James 5:16 Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another…”
4. A new church could use the extra teamwork
Collaboration brings glory to God as Christians give effort to His service together. No church is an empire to be built, but rather a picture to be painted. What better art than 2 pictures side by side that point to Christ together.
5. A new church could use the partnership in prayer
The new church will quickly need God’s protection and provision as Satan tries to attack and defeat the baby. Every church could use a little more prayer for God to work in them. A new church needs those who will partner with their ministry in asking God to bless.
All of this being said, I cannot undo the past or change how Open Door Baptist Church was started. However we are still a baby church in need of some growing, just as this pastor has a lot of growing to do. When a baby enters this world without the presence of parents, oftentimes new parents can be sought out. For Open Door Baptist Church, we are coming under the umbrella of another church – an adoption, if you will. Open Door Baptist Church did not start with the direct sending of a parent church. However, I believe we still need to come under God’s plan. Our church still needs submission. I know we could benefit from the added accountability. I also look forward to the collaboration and prayers that come from a parent church. We want to set the right example of God’s plan for those who come after us. When the door opens for us to start a church, we want the right plan to be seen. We are not establishing an hierarchy. Rather we are seeking to have a multitude of counselors. Therefore on April 24, 2013, Open Door Baptist Church will have a Commissioning Service where we will come under the adopting church of Mountain View Baptist Church of Las Cruces, NM pastored by Robb Redlin. Already having been a tremendous blessing, we look forward to working with him and the church to help more people come to Christ. It may not be our birth as a church, but it can be a God-blessed adoption.