Encouraged, Challenged and Inspired

I just came back from a three-day, church-planting boot camp for Hispanic leaders in San Diego, CA, coordinated by the EFCA (Evangelical Free Church of America). I was really encouraged to see many Hispanic leaders, seasoned pastors, and future church-planters in one small place (literally) to share ideas, past experiences, and of course, practical tools for planting and developing effective and healthy local churches.

I was really honored to be present among such hard-working, Christ-loving leaders. I had the privilege of meeting (and sharing a place with some) pastors from other states who are doing great things for the glory of God and the well-being of their local congregations.

The highlight for me was that a lot of my desires and passions and dreams of pastoring/planting a church were, in some sense, confirmed and rekindled. My heart was moved and stirred by the necessity of planting new churches for the glory of God and the edification of people.

I been contemplating the idea of church planting ever since I felt called by God to serve in pastoral ministry. You may be asking yourself: “Why plant a church?” Good question! Church planting is, in my opinion, the primary way to reach a community with the gospel, make disciples, provide pastoral care and counseling, development and train leaders, and ultimately, expand the kingdom of God.

One of the few things that fill my heart with an inexpressible joy is when I see and/or hear stories about new churches being planted locally and abroad; how the gospel is being preached and people are being saved; and how the kingdom of God is expanding. I spend hours (no joke) reading blogs about church-planting stories and movements. (Who does that?!?)

Ever since I started serving in ministry, my love for God’s people has grown to the point that I cannot see myself doing anything else than using my God-given gifts to edify and bless others in the context of the local church.

Now, let me be honest: planting a church is one of the most challenging things ever! Don’t believe me? Just ask a church planter and his family how difficult it is to plant a church.

The trials, temptations, shortcomings, unmet expectations, lack of resources, weekly responsibilities, criticism, and discouragement, among other things, makes church planting an unappealing and daunting task.

Why in the world would I want to plant a church (in the near future)? To simply put it: I feel God is calling me to do just that—to plant a church—and I want to be obedient. When? Where? How? I honestly do not know.

In the meantime, I will continue to learn, grow, and serve God passionately and faithfully…and the rest is up to Him. After all, He was the one who changed my life and put those desires in my heart in the first place, so why wouldn’t He guide and direct my steps in order to fulfill that for which He has called me to?

I believe that God is in control and that He “is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,” (Eph. 3:21). Amen!

*Discuss: What is God calling you to do? And, how is He preparing you for that task? Share your comments below.*

Leadership is Essential

Leadership is important. Why? As John C. Maxwell well puts it, “Everything rises or falls on leadership.” I agree. As a leader myself, I am beginning to realize that the success (or failure) of an organization or ministry falls on its leadership.

Leaders are important not because of the positions they hold, or the talent they have, but because of the impact, whether positive or negative, they will have on their followers and the organizations and ministries they represent and work for.

Leaders are called to serve others and not their own personal, selfish agenda. Leaders are called to…well lead, and leading will require great responsibility and effort and, at times, great sacrifice. A leader must be willing to pay the price in order to be effective in whatever he or she does.

Leaders are called to a higher standard of living for they will give an account to God for what they do (or don’t do). It is vital for a leader to live a life of integrity, service, honesty and humility.

The stakes are high and many are watching. People are counting on leaders to display a life worth imitating and following. The responsibility could not be bigger but the potential for long-lasting impact and positive change is endless.

Leaders: pray and strive to serve God and others with a humble and sincere heart.

For His glory,

Jonnathan Menendez