Why We Must Replant Dying Churches Now: The Ultimate Reason
The Ultimate Reason: The praise and glory of God’s name throughout the earth.
The praise and glory of God’s name throughout the earth is the ultimate goal, the ultimate end, in church replanting. The reason that God’s glory must be our ultimate goal is because He alone is worthy of glory. Moreover, God desires to be glorified and He has invited us to joyfully pursue the glory of His name in and through our lives, as well as through our ministries. This included the replanting of churches. There’s probably no text in the Bible that reveals the passion that God has for His own glory more than what we see in Isiah 48:9 – 11. This is where we read the Lord speaking,
For my name’s sake I defer my anger, for the sake of my praise I restrain it for you, that I may not cut you off. Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tried you in the furnace of affliction. For my own sake, for my own sake, I do it, for how should my name be profaned? My glory I will not give to another.
We’re reminded even in this text in Isaiah that the Lord has allowed many churches to struggle and go through difficult season ultimately for His glory. But here’s the reality: God, in His love, grace, and kindness, brings churches back from near death for His glory too. He desires servants, leaders, followers, congregations who are humble enough to say, “Lord this is all about you! This is not my church, this is Your church. This is the bride of Christ that Jesus died to save. Lord, be glorified in us! Be glorified in this church. For Your glory alone, Lord!”
Matt Schmucker writes
For the sake of God’s name being rightly represented in the world, we need to be jealous for the witness of his church. Why? So that God’s glory might be spread and magnified. His name is defamed when so-called Christian churches misrepresent him with tolerance of sin, their bad marriage practices, wrong views on sexuality, and a host of heresies from salvation to the authority of Scripture.
I pray against those churches that would defame God’s name. I pray they would die or at least be invisible to the neighborhood.
I positively pray for those true churches in my neighborhood that proclaim truth, that rightly gather those who have been born again, and whose ultimate purpose is God’s glory. Consider revitalizing for the sake of God’s name.
God is about His glory. We must be about His glory as well. Mark Clifton has written extensively on this very topic of replanting churches for the sake of God’s fame and God’s glory. Clifton writes
A dying church robs God of His Glory. The key to revitalization of a church near death is a passion for the Glory of God in all things. This alone must be the beginning and primary motivation for a Legacy replant, even over worthy objectives such as reaching the community, growing the church and meeting needs. The purpose of all creation is the glory of God. He created everything for His own glory.
As Romans 11:36 proclaims, “For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever.”
Clifton is right: All things are to point to and ultimately bring glory to the Lord and this is true in church replanting. We want to see the glory of God spread to the ends of the earth as we see hopeless situations, dying churches redeemed for God’s glory. We want to see churches come back to life that some would look at and say, “It’s all over. What a joke. No hope there.” God has always been in the business of bringing dead things back to life, namely His own Son, Jesus. In the same way, He has always been in the business of bringing dying churches back to life for His Name’s sake. His desire is the same in our churches today!