While the church planter may begin alone, the establishment of a new church is never meant to be accomplished alone. Paul's pattern of starting churches always involved support from other believers. There is no better example of supporting church planting than what we see in the book of Philippians. Philippians is Paul's "thank you" letter to his supporters. Chapter 4, specifically, provides us with two key ways anyone can support church planting:
There are many well-known verses that come out of Philippians. These are among the most well-known and loved: "do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus" (4:6-7). Prayer is powerful. We're given freedom to give God every need, concern, fear, and challenge. Prayer also provides. It provides us with peace - the kind that transcends circumstance. The peace of God protects.
This is a good reminder for us. But there is another reason why Paul instructs them as he does. It is because they were worried about him. Just a few verses later Paul writes, "I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at length you have revived your concern for me. You were indeed concerned for me, but you had no opportunity" (4:10). They wanted to provide more, but had been unable. So, they worried about him. This is why he instructs them to pray. Being unable to give, they could still pray. By praying they were able to be a part of God's provision for Paul's needs.
If you can't give, you can still pray. And that will accomplish more than you could imagine.
Paul wasn't just thankful for the prayers of the Philippian church. They had also given generously. He says, "I have received full payment, and more. I am well supplied, having received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent" (4:18). But, the real value wasn't in the amount, but in the freedom it provided. As Paul says the verse before, "Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that increases to your credit" (4:17). Their generous giving allowed Paul to minister freely. Every need had been provided for, so he could be single-minded in his work.
Their giving was also more than mere check writing. As he says in 4:18, their generosity was, instead, a partnership in the ministry of the gospel. It's as if they are present with him.
Here's my confession: my biggest fear in starting a new church is generating sufficient income for my family. Without an established congregation, I have to find supporters elsewhere. Add our commitment to Whitney staying home with Noah and the cost of living in our target area and we have financial needs that only a big God and a big family can meet.
Here is what I would ask of you: consider which of these two ways you can help support our church planting efforts in Houston. To stay up-to-date with us you can sign up for our monthly newsletter. However the Lord leads you to support us, thank you for your partnership.