No pastor wants his church to get smaller, especially a pastor of a small church. Then why am I excited that our small church might get smaller in 2020? Because we would be shrinking for the sake of the gospel. Our desire is to send out two gifted and qualified leaders, and their families, to plant a church in Syracuse, Utah. We will be losing two servant-hearted families in the process, but I could not be more excited about the possibility. Here are a few reasons for my excitement.
I am excited because Christ calls every church, even small ones, to participate in the Great Commission (Matt 28:18–20). Our mission is to make disciples and gather those disciples into churches.
I am excited because sending out people from a small church stretches our faith and causes us to lean on God with a greater sense of desperation. How does a church know when it is the “right time” to send out missionaries and church planters? What number of members is adequate before we feel comfortable sending some out? I don’t know, and there is probably no right answer. Certainly, there are a lot of factors to consider and wisdom is needed. In our case, we are pressing on trusting that God will continue to supply all our needs.
I am excited because we cannot do it alone. We will be looking for partnerships with other churches to help support the work of planting in Syracuse. It is a privilege and joy to work together with other churches for the sake of the gospel.
I am excited because I trust that God will raise up people within our own midst to step in where others have stepped out. Sending out people creates service opportunities for others. I think our church will become stronger as a whole as different people get new opportunities to serve the church. We will also feel a greater sense of urgency to raise up other leaders from among our own number.
I am excited because God alone will be magnified. If God bears fruit in our church planting effort, it will be abundantly clear that God alone has done it. We do not have great resources or numbers or man-made strategies to lean on. But we have a great God who has promised to glorify his Son in the salvation of sinners. May God be pleased to build His church in Syracuse and in Sandy and in Utah and around the world. Soli Deo Gloria.