1: A Replanter Must Be a Visionary Shepherd 1 PETER 5:1-11 Vision has become somewhat of a buzzword in evangelical circles. Often the word serves as a means to transform ordinary phrases into supercharged, cutting-edge phrases; they become relevant, inspirational and catalytic, even if they are saying particularly nothing at all. Despite the ambiguity that is typically associated with the word vision, we should still labor to save it from utter meaninglessness, partly because it is a biblical word with biblical relevance (Proverbs 29:18) and partly because it can be of great service to us. So what do we mean when we say that a replanter must be characterized by vision? Simply put, a replanter must have ideas about the future of the church, and he must be able to winsomely communicate those ideas to his congregation. He must be able to paint a biblical picture of the church that is beautiful enough for his people to recognize as beautiful. This is an incredibly important characteristic because a replanter isn’t simply planting a brand new church, nor is he stepping into the role of 4
a pastor in an already healthy congregation; he is “re-planting” a church because something has gone wrong there. Otherwise, there would be no need to replant at all! This means that a congregation’s unity of heart, zeal for spiritually qualitative growth and a common understanding of what the church needs are not luxuries a replanter is endowed with. He has come with the express purpose of uniting the hearts of a divided congregation, reinvigorating the zeal of stagnant church members and teaching a confused church about what they actually need. This is not to say that every replanter will necessarily face the same set of difficulties. A replanter will typically have to work harder for the buy-in of his congregation than the average pastor or church planter. This means that a replanter must have an intentional sense of longevity when it comes to his decisions; he doesn’t make arbitrary decisions about changing policies on church membership, the frequency of observing the Lord’s Supper, the order of service, the color of the carpet or the layout of the bulletin—a replanter who has vision makes these steps at calculated points. It is also important to stress where this vision is coming from. A replanter is not a CEO, making decisions that bring about the most expedient results while slavishly conforming to the principles of supply and demand. Nor is a replanter merely a micro-dictator, imposing his own personal preferences on the congregation like they were law, while showing little concern for the health and stability of the people underneath him. Rather, a replanter is a pastor; he is a shepherd. The shepherd-replanter doesn’t base his decisions on worldly criteria of success— as if the outward trappings of a booming organization equate to real ecclesiastical health; he gives his sheep what they need, even if what the need does not appear to be what they want. The shepherd-replanter also 5
This Spring Issue encourages everyone to be strong and to trust God no matter what you are going through right now in your life. We dedicate this issue to those who are facing new opportunities that may be causing them to feel like they are not good enough for the position or to take the lead.
We want you to know that your and God has already equipped you for the job! In this issue, we address how you, too can be courageous and bold just like Joshua. " Destiny Is Calling" and your life has a purpose, for with God all things are possible!