Church Planting and the Upside Down Kingdom

As the days grow shorter, weather turns cooler, and Christmas music begins to play in department stores we become more aware of the season that celebrates the birth of Christ. Similarly, as we have been journeying through the entire Bible this fall in our sermon series #LongStoryShort this Sunday we begin a new chapter in the grand narrative of Scripture. ACT III, Redemption: How It All Turned Around.

When looking at the birth and ministry of Christ, we will see that what He taught and represented was entirely different to what the cultural norms were around Jesus. Many have looked at what Jesus represents and call it the upside-down Kingdom. It's  really messes with the things we enjoy to feel about ourselves.

Those things that make us important in our world become unimportant in the upside-down Kingdom. Here are some of the things about His Kingdom:

The Upside-Down Kingdom
- To lead, you must serve.
- To live you must die.
- To gain favor you must cease your labors.
- To be strong you must be weak.
- To be promoted you must promote others.
- To be rich you must give everything away.
- To win you must be last.

At Randall Church, we are experiencing growth in some very exciting ways. We are near full capacity in our children's programming space, and our youth have begun meeting on multiple nights during the week to accommodate their rapid numerical growth. In addition to our Care Corridors serving one another well, they are regularly finding ways to serve local neighborhoods and make the presence of Jesus Christ known to people within their own communities.

You might say: "Wow!" You might say: "What an improvement!" You might even say: "Keep that up and people will really start to talk about our church again!" You might not realize however, that in these moments a church must make a choice. As Jeff Christopherson writes: Are we going to be Self Seekers, or Kingdom Seekers. Are we going to be Brand Expanders or Kingdom Expanders? Is it going to be about us, or is it going to be about Him? 

This is why we plant churches. This is why we plant autonomous churches.

In May of 2013 Renewal Church began. Today, we see the spiritual leadership expanding to include it's first round of Elders, we see the financial commitment expanding towards self supporting it's own budget by it's 5 year mark, as well as steady growth towards a sustainable core of regular members and attenders gathering every weekend in North Tonawanda. 

This first Randall Church church plant has taken a significant amount of resources from Randall, and from it's leadership. The regular attender in the seats each week in Williamsville or North Tonawanda will probably never realize how much it took. Furthermore, the new attenders at the church plant might not even know the sending church exists. Seem costly? Yet, when it comes time to plant the next church or churches, the financial cost might even be greater, the leadership requirements even more demanding, and the length of time even longer. 

Why would we do it again?

The Zip Code 14120 will continue to be eternally impacted by the Gospel of Christ because there is a body of believers there, that would not exist if Randall Church had not embraced the Upside-Down Kingdom. Niagara County now has a beach-head established where God's people can be restored; while going out and affecting lostness, brokenness, sinfulness in their geography with God's love.

This is why we plant churches. This is the Upside-down Kingdom. 

Pastor Milo


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