Church planters are confronted with all sorts of issues. There isn’t a blueprint when starting a church. Look at these quotes from some church planters.
“My role is to start African American churches in the 5 county metro east area.”
“We want to help plant churches anywhere to reach bikers for Christ.”
“We have two fields of ministry. One, to Spanish-speaking Hispanics and, the second one, is a ministry to English -speaking Hispanics.”
“It began with a vision to be a “culturally sensitive church that enables individuals to become fully devoted followers of Christ.”
“It began without a building, congregation, or salary for the pastor.”
All of these quotes present different cultural challenges. I’m sure that the biker church will look a lot different than the African American church. Even the two Hispanic churches will face different obstacles because of language.
The disciples faced similar challenges growing the church. As the church grew and crossed national, cultural and religious boundaries, questions arose which required answers consistent with Scripture and Christian love. Natural human prejudice threatened to divide the body of Christ, but the leadership of the Holy Spirit enabled James and the apostles to resolve the difficulties and give wise counsel.
The early church started mostly as Jewish converts. They still kept the Law but believed in Jesus as Savior. As the church grew, gentiles were being converted. All at once, there was a cultural conflict. Some believers thought that the gentiles should follow the Law and become circumcised. Paul and Barnabus argued against that position and eventually were sent to counsel with the disciples and the elders of the church in Jerusalem. Eventually it was decided that Gentiles wouldn’t have to follow the old testament Law but, in an effort to promote unity in the church, they decided that Gentiles should not eat food offered to idols, consuming blood or eating meet of strangled animals. It also directed them to abstain from sexual immorality.
Even though the disciples delivered this message, it is interesting to note who made the decision – from Acts 15:28-29(NLT):
28“For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay no greater burden on you than these requirements:
29You must abstain from eating food offered to idols, from consuming blood or eating the meat of strangled animals, and from sexual immorality. If you do this, you will do well. Farewell.”
The Holy Spirit was sent to direct in the proper administration of the church. He still does that today. No matter the cultural differences or other challenges we might face, there is still one truth – salvation comes through faith, repentance and true belief in, and acceptance of, Jesus Christ as our Savior.