Check out Part One of this Interview – Theological Education
Check out Part Two of this Interview – Challenges in Church Planting
4.) Why are you baptist and A29?
I am thoroughly Baptist. I have been Baptist my entire life. I was born into a Baptist family, saved in a Baptist church, baptized in a Baptist church, raised in a Baptist church, attended at Baptist college and graduated from a Baptist seminary, and always worked in Baptist churches. It was in college where I realized that theologically I’m in the Baptist camp. It was in the fall of 1998, after I graduated from college, before I went to seminary, where I began to embrace what is known as “Reformed Theology”. During the fall I read a book called “Chosen By God” by R.C. Sproul and then “Desiring God” by John Piper. The rest as they say is history. Reformed Theology does not supersede biblical theology for me. I strive to believe, teach and preach what the Scriptures say, not a theological system. But, in 1998 I found a “theological home” in Reformed Theology (at least soteriologically). So, in 2009 when I was planting, I was very much interested in planting with Acts 29. There are a lot of reasons.
– First is being at home theologically with them. However, there are many other great reasons.
– Acts 29 loves church planting and wants to plant a lot of churches. Remedy Church has this as a goal as well. So, there is much to learn from them.
– The assessment of Acts 29 is very thorough and causes every planter to truly assess themselves. I learned a lot about myself.
– The friends I’ve already made in A29 has been great. It truly is a “brotherhood”. They are so helpful and give great advice for every possible question you could think of when it comes to church planting.
– There is an emphasis on raising up and training men. I am passionate about this and want to do it well. A29 is a great resource in helping assist for this.
5.) What is the role of preaching in church planting? How does planting affect what series, books, topics, etc you address?
Preaching is not the main role in church planting. There are a lot of other things that can be just as important. However, that being said, that does not minimize the importance and necessity of preaching. Preaching is the God-ordained way that the people of God will continually week to week learn to hope in Christ and His Gospel. Preaching is something that I am most passionate about as a pastor/planter. Of all the things a pastor does, preaching is BY FAR my favorite thing to do. I do long for the day where (if the Lord wills) that I won’t be the “Lead Pastor”, but just the “Preaching Pastor”. This is not to say that I’m any good at it. I just enjoy it.
When planting Remedy Church, because we were a new church, this greatly affected what I would be preaching. I believe in expositional preaching. The large majority of the year I preach through books of the Bible. We began the church plant we started with the book of Galatians. I wanted to make sure as we began we had a firm grasp on the Gospel and its necessity not just for justification, but in sanctification as well. It was crucial we had this right as we began. So, we took the first 20 or so weeks of the church plant and went through book of Galatians. As we neared the summer, there were some “topics” that needed some clarification, so I preached about worship, baptism, and being in the world but not of the world. Those were 3 different topical series, but all were still expositional in nature. In the fall, because we were still young, we needed a stronger understanding of ecclesiology and ecclesiological structures, so I preached through 1 Timothy calling men to aspire as Elders, talked about addressing false doctrine, etc… Now I am teaching through 1 John. Because the church is “reformed” we can tend to love doctrine and study and not finding ourselves being very loving to our brothers and our neighbors. Since I don’t want us to ever be the “chosen and froze” church, I am preaching from 1 John and challenging us to be more loving . God is challenging us to constantly reach out to those around us and show His love to the brothers and whoever is in need (1 John 3: 16-18). 1 John’s main point is assurance of salvation, with 3 tests; righteousness, truth and love. I want the people of Remedy and me to have all three of these and “reassure our hearts” (1 John 3:19) that we are in Christ.
Clearly now, I am preaching thru the end of chapter 3 of 1 John.