Christ Memorial Church launched in 1992 from the back of a green 1976 Dodge Aspen station wagon. That small Slant-Six Chrysler engine faithfully transported hymnals, Bibles, rugs for the children, and communion components to a college campus in Burlington, Vermont, for two years. It was a cold church plant (and not just mainly because of the climate).
A thousand choices had to be created quickly—about recruiting a core group, acquiring a meeting location, acquiring gear, deciding on musicians, beginning ministries, and, possibly most importantly, deciding what to preach.
We launched the church with 1 Timothy. And I would encourage any pastor, whether or not planting or replanting, to get started by preaching via the Pastoral Epistles (1 Timothy, two Timothy, and Titus).
Why the Pastorals? Right here are my best 4 motives.
1. Church Leadership
A clear leadership structure is foundational to the nicely-becoming of a church. And the congregation really should be capable to get behind it. Teaching from the Pastorals provides the most effective likelihood of that taking place and guides the congregation in how to determine and hold accountable these who would lead. The Pastoral Epistles address:
- The want for elders (two Tim. four:3–4 Titus 1:9)
- The plurality of elders (1 Tim. five:17, 20 Titus 1:five)
- The part of elders (1 Tim. three:two, 4–5, five:17 two Tim. four:1–5 Titus 1:9)
- The qualifications for elders (1 Tim. three:1–7 Titus 1:5–9)
- The gender of elders (1 Tim. two:9–3:7)
- The authority of elders (1 Tim. three:4–5, five:17 Titus 1:11–13, two:15)
- The compensation, discipline, and ordination of elders (1 Tim. five:17–25)
The Pastoral Epistles present a clear leadership structure via which to make a church.
two. Gospel Purity
The Pastorals shield a young church from at least two gospel errors: functions-primarily based righteousness and functions-absolutely free conversion.
Error 1: Performs-Primarily based Righteousness
The Jewish false teachers had been advertising a functions-primarily based righteousness (1 Tim. 1:6–11 Titus 1:10–16). Paul, himself a trophy of the Lord’s mercy (1 Tim 1:13–16), responds with the gospel of grace. Salvation is by grace, granted in Christ from all eternity and revealed at Christ’s appearing (two Tim. 1:8–10 Titus three:5–7). And God desires that all males, each Jew and Gentile, be saved (1 Tim. two:1–8 Titus two:11–14). In reality, Paul was strengthened so the proclamation of the gospel may be totally achieved, that all the Gentiles may hear (two Tim. four:16–17). The Pastorals are clear that God freely justifies the ungodly.
Error two: Performs-Free of charge Conversion
But the Pastorals also shield a young church from a mere “sinner’s prayer” gospel that does not outcome in transformed lives. The accurate gospel constantly accords with godliness (Titus 1:1), and justifying faith constantly produces very good functions (especially, the perform of brotherly like, 1 Tim. 1:five also James two:14–26 and 1 John three:11–18). This insistence on corroborating functions that prove saving faith is identified all through the Pastorals and applied to the whole church:
- Elders should be above reproach (1 Tim. three:two).
- Ministers should train for godliness and not be deceived by some ascetic heresy, so that the man of God may be equipped for each and every very good perform (1 Tim. four:1–7 two Tim. three:16–17).
- False teachers have departed from the doctrine conforming to godliness (1 Tim. six:three Titus 1:16).
- Godly ladies should lead lives characterized by very good functions (1 Tim. two:9–10, five:10).
- The wealthy should be wealthy in very good functions (1 Tim. six:18).
- Believers should reside godly lives, zealous for very good functions (Titus two:1–14, three:1–8).
The Pastoral Epistles know absolutely nothing of a faith that does not outcome in very good functions.
three. Heavenly Expectations
The Pastorals also shield the church from a “Your Most effective Life Now” theology by advocating the hope of a bodily resurrection from the dead (1 Tim. four:8–10, six:17–19 two Tim. two:14–18, four:6–8, 18 Titus two:11–13). A robust belief that our most effective life is later enables a congregation (and its ministers) to endure hardship. It engenders a willingness to face suffering and persecution, to “endure all factors for the sake of the elect, in order that they may receive the salvation which is in Christ Jesus and with it, eternal glory” (two Tim. two:10, three:10–12). As a result, the Pastorals are completely suited to assist a young church fight the very good fight, finish the race, and maintain the faith, figuring out that in the future a crown of righteousness awaits all who like his appearing (two Tim. four:6–8).
four. Mission Concentrate
The Pastoral Epistles supply a pastor and his young church a laser concentrate on their mission. And what is that mission? Preach the gospel, in season and out (two Tim. four:1–4). This is what Paul taught, and what he did. He created the very good confession, fought the very good fight, and kept the faith, enduring all factors so that the elect may receive salvation. Paul created disciples of all the nations, preaching the gospel and planting churches from Jerusalem to Illyricum. The Pastorals will guide your church to do the identical, to proclaim everywhere the gospel that saves lives by a grace that transforms and focuses hope on eternal glory. Such proclamation should be the concentrate of each and every church plant, each and every replant, certainly, each and every church.
Church planters face quite a few important decisions—even what automobile you will trust with all your stuff. But none is extra vital than what to teach a new flock. And you can not go incorrect with the Pastorals: They will maintain your leadership sound, your gospel pure, your mindset eternal, and your mission accurate.