As a church planter, I’ve been learning to embrace my entrepreneurial spirit. I’ve begun to unapologetically and boldly blaze a trail and cut a clearing on a missional frontier that many did not think existed. And so I’ve been reading and podcasting lots of fuel for the entrepreneurial fire that burns within.
Forge ahead! That’s been the sound ringing in my ear.
And yet I’ve freshly realized that I’m called not to translocal apostolicity nor to prop up a placeless e-platform. Rather, I am called to plant.
Plant the gospel, plant myself.
And along comes Samuel Rutherford, another ‘nonconformist’, though of the 17th-Century Scottish variety. A man out of step with his time not so much because of his passion to forge ahead to uncharted territory (though in his own way, he did that), but because of his unrelenting insistence upon diving deep. Deep into ‘the loveliness of Christ’.
The deeper Rutherford dove into the loveliness of Christ, the deeper the gospel of Jesus was planted in the community to which he ministered. It is humbling to reckon with the indisputable fact that a man like Rutherford planted congregations more deeply in the gospel—without ever planting a church—than most church planters will ever do.
Fellow church planters: Let us be brave and fearless. Let us be ‘entrepreneurial’ in its most sanctified sense. But let us never be so much of these noble things as to blaze a trail right past the deep, sweet well of love—the lovely Jesus himself. And let us not be so apostolic as to fail to plant a community around this well, teaching one another to draw from it every day.
The Great Master Gardener, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, in a wonderful providence, with his own hand, planted me here, where by his grace, in this part of his vineyard, I grow; and here I will abide till the great Master of the vineyard think it fit to transplant me.
– Samuel Rutherford (c.1600-1661)