Vision For A New Church Plant
When I think of the new church we want to plant in Los Angeles, here is the vision that comes to mind:
To see Jesus Christ exalted and disciples of all nations multiplied throughout LA and the world.
This vision has 3 components and is grounded in Scripture:
1) The exaltation of Jesus Christ
2) The multiplication of his disciples
3) Multi-ethnic and global ambition
The Exaltation of Jesus Christ
The narrative of Scripture shows us that man's initial rebellion against God in the garden of Eden has left us all sinful and "fallen short of the glory of God." (Rom 3:23) We have no ability in and of ourselves to be reconciled back to God except by his grace through the redemption in Jesus Christ, for "there is salvation in no one else, there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved." (Acts 4:12)
Jesus was the Word of God who took on flesh, "and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth." (John 1:14) "And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father." (Phil 2:8-11)
Jesus is "the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power." (Heb 1:3) "He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross." (Colossians 1: 17-20)
Because of Jesus' perfect life, sacrificial death, and powerful resurrection, he has been given "all authority in heaven and on earth," (Matt 28:18) "for the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace." (Isa 9:6) He currently sits on his throne where he reigns and rules and one day will be surrounded by a multitude of angelic hosts and peoples of all nations crying out "Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!" (Revelation 5:12)
Our vision is to see Jesus Christ exalted because he is completely worthy of our praise.
"Behold, my servant shall act wisely; he shall be high and lifted up, and shall be exalted." (Isaiah 52:13)
The Multiplication of His Disciples
The prophet Habakkuk says "the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea." (Hab 2:14), meaning the glory of God is everywhere but the knowledge of his glory is not yet but will be.
From the beginning, God intended his creation to "be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion" so that his image would fill the earth. However, because of sin fracturing the relationship between God and his people, we still bear his image but not the beauty of his character and glory. However, through Jesus Christ, the knowledge of the glory of God has now been revealed (2 Cor 4:6) and given to those who are brought to faith in Jesus. As new disciples are made, God's marred image bearers are restored and bring with them the beauty of his presence and reign to wherever they are.
Our hope is to see disciples of Jesus Christ multiplied throughout the world. In his great commission, Jesus with all authority commands us to "go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you" (Matt 28:19-20), which includes the command to make more disciples.
In his second letter to Timothy, Paul calls him to take "what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses and entrust it to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also." (2 Tim 2:2) In this simple verse, we see four generations of believers (Paul -> Timothy -> faithful men -> others), disciples who are constantly seeking to share the gospel with those who will come to faith and share the gospel with more.
As disciples are multiplied, Jesus Christ is exalted all the more.
Multi-Ethnic and Global Ambition
God's heart for the nations is woven throughout the narrative of Scripture. It begins in creation's mandate to "be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth" (Gen 1:28). It continues after the fall of man in the promise made to Abraham, "And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing... and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed." (Gen 12:2-3) This promise is fulfilled through the lineage of Abraham when the Son of David, the promised Messiah, Jesus Christ is born. He is God's salvation "prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles (nations)." (Luke 2:31-32) After his resurrection, Jesus calls us his "witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth," (Acts 1:8) commanding us to "make disciples of all nations." (Matt 28:19) Jesus said "repentance for the forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations," (Luke 24:47) and that when "this gospel of the kingdom is proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, then the end will come." (Matt 24:14) And at the end, we have the promise of "a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb... crying out with a loud voice, 'Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!" (Rev 7:9-10)
We are all one in Christ Jesus. For in him we "who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For Jesus himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility." (Eph 2:13-14) We long to see a church that represents all peoples in our neighborhood and plants more churches throughout the ethnic enclaves of LA and amongst the many unreached people groups of the world.
As the gospel is proclaimed and disciples multiplied throughout LA and sent to the ends of the earth, Jesus Christ will be exalted all the more. He alone is worthy.
Will you join us?