One of the oddities/benefits of the internet is that we are privy to words, thoughts, sermons, lectures, etc., that we would never have otherwise been able to encounter. As I have continued thinking about the notion of 'success' in the context of church planting, I was overwhelmed with the power of the following words. Matt Chandler is pastor of The Village Church in Dallas, TX. I transcribed a portion from his "unplugged" session at the most recent Acts 29 Network church planting boot camp (part one, part two). All of the sessions can be downloaded here
I have been a huge fan since my conversion right before my 18th birthday of men who wrote about God in such a way that its not friendship, and it's not cool and it's not something they like just... like; but rather they have this burning, unsettling, lust for the things of God...
Right? David? "I yearn for you", "My flesh longs for you"? That's not friendship ... I've got a lot of friends in here that I haven't seen in years and my flesh has not ever yearned for any of those guys. I have never thought of any of those guys through the watches of the night, right? I have never laid in bed and went, 'You know, As the deer pants for the water so my soul pants for Driscoll!' I mean, that has never happened right? And so you've got a guy that's writing about God in such a way that it's not friendship and it's not some mere church building thing, it's this moaning, groaning, longing for the things of God.
Or Brother Lawrence, in Practice of the Presence, who said "I have had such delicious thoughts of the Lord that I'm ashamed to mention them". That's probably the most disturbing quote I have ever read in my life. And twelve years into my walk with Christ I still don't have a clue of what he was talking about. But, it's there.
And, if I could say anything to you as you set out ... because, listen, all this stuff they're giving to you is great stuff. But you go ahead and write out ... you have the greatest theology on Christ; you set out with the greatest mission statement; with the sharpest group of guys; with the best kind of music; and the most beautiful plan-- but outside of a burning passion for the glory of Christ and the Kingdom of God, you will build your own kingdom, and it will die with you. It will die with you.
And it is those whose hearts burn for the glory of Christ who I think will walk in success in this venture of ours as we set out.