Get Your Eternal Vision Checked

Acts 29: Churches Planting Churches

Humans are eternity-forgetters.

In the everyday throes of life, eternity can so easily fade into the background. Eternity shrinks, and we forget—or almost deny—our mortality.

If you are a church-planting pastor, beware this deadly reality. If we don’t intentionally bring eternity to the forefront of our minds, we may lose the weight of it altogether. When eternity is forgotten, we become enamored with what is temporary.

And for all our efforts, we’ll be left with temporary churches filled with temporary preaching of a temporary word that will, at best, push people to temporary change. In the meantime, we’re left to build temporary kingdoms that quickly crumble, all the while accumulating for ourselves a temporary following who will celebrate us only to eventually turn to the next Twitter feed once ours grows cold.

Ministry is hard, and church planting can feel impossible. Motivation and adrenaline rooted in the temporal will only get us so far.

Ministry is hard, and church planting can feel impossible. Motivation and adrenaline rooted in the temporal will only get us so far.

If we want to make it in church planting, we must have eyes to see beyond the temporary to the horizon of eternity.

Eternity Changed

More than 2,000 years ago, a cosmic battle was waged and won. Eternal destinies were changed. Christ’s death and resurrection paved the way to eternity. God’s people will one day joyfully celebrate his glory for all eternity. This is why we plant churches.

This may seem like a strange reminder, but it’s a necessary one. The everyday stuff of church planting can be overwhelming: raising money, training up elders, counseling the hurting, looking for a location, shaping vision, and forecasting financial viability.

These temporal realities can blur our vision, making us lose sight of the fact that planting churches is an eternal endeavor. Ten thousand years from now, your church—Christ’s bride—will only have begun to magnify his glory. For now we see the shadows, but the fullness is coming.

If we want to make it in church planting, we must have eyes to see beyond the temporary to the horizon of eternity.

In light of this reality, there is a certain glory that shines even in the mundane. Monday morning has eternal implications. And when the weight of eternity meets with the mundane of Monday, it will transform all that is menial in church planting.

After all, we’re heading toward a wedding where we’ll enjoy a feast with our King. No more dimly-lit mirrors, no more broken shadows, no more sin. We will look across the table and see him as he is.

Therefore, what you do today actually matters, and it will still matter a few million years from now. The church you are planting is headed toward eternity.

But eternity will not only shape your motivations, it will anchor your soul.

Eternity Gained

It was Easter Sunday, and I’d just preached on the resurrection. I got a text message from my brother-in-law waiting for me after the second service.

We’d just hired him and his wife to plant a church. They’d moved to the Upper Peninsula to plant in one of the area’s most difficult places. It took months of planning, praying, and searching to find someone willing to embark on this mission.

But I noticed that he and my sister were not at either service that morning, and his text provided the explanation: Anne was in the emergency room, and it was cancer.

Eight short days later, the Good Shepherd ushered her home. He led her through the valley of shadows and death. That valley is not foreign to him; he’s been there before. And because Jesus lives, so does she.

Anne was a faith-filled lover of the gospel who’d come to the middle of nowhere to help plant a church in a place few know about.

And now she’s gone.

In these moments, how fast our church is or isn’t growing, how many people like my sermons, or how strategic my five-year plan appears fall to the periphery. In these moments, eternity takes center stage; it magnifies what’s important and reveals what’s not.

Eternal Anchor

So while eternity will shape your motivation, it will also anchor your soul when the billows roll.

Eternity reminds us what’s at stake. We’re planting eternal churches made of eternal image bearers; we proclaim an eternal gospel; Jesus Christ will usher in an eternal kingdom; we will worship full of eternal joy; and our eternally worthy King will be praised forever.

Ten thousand years from now, your church—Christ’s bride—will only have begun to magnify his glory.

We, as church-planting pastors, are privileged to play a role in this work of wonder God is doing. We’re wrapped up in the greatest story in all the world. And it’s a story that doesn’t end.

So look to the horizon. The King is there. Eternity is with him. Crushed enemies lie strewn at his feet. There’s a smile on his face as he comes for his bride.

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