Essential characteristics of a Replanter: Steadfastness

By Bob Bickford

But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.  1 Corinthians 15:57-58

A Replanting mentor of mine tells a story that I truly resonate with. One Sunday when the crowd was small, the music was awful and even his wife, his biggest supporter, was having a difficult time listening to his sermon–he closed in prayer, walked out the back door during the last song and kept going two blocks down the street and sat on the steps of the nearby high school.

In moments of frustration and prayer he confessed that he was ready to give up and move on, it didn’t appear that God was going to grow the church and he was exhausted. At that point he looked down and noticed that he was still wearing the wireless microphone. He then sensed the voice of God saying to him; “You’re not done here yet.”

Many engaged in Replanting have Sundays like that. What keeps them going? Why do they go back? How do they continue on in ministry when the struggle is real?

God gives the Replanter a steadfast heart. This enables him to remain focused on the vision that God has given—of an alive and redeemed congregation declaring and demonstrating the gospel for the glory of God and the good of the community. A shift like this doesn’t happen overnight, in a few weeks, months or even years.

In Jesus Christ, God equips and empowers the Replanter to be:

  • Steadfast—fixed on the vision God has given/li>
  • Immovable—not easily swayed or tempted to move to another place/vision, ministry setting when things are difficult.

This “fixed-ness” enables a Replanter to abound in the work of the Lord. A dis-heartened Pastor cannot excel in the work of ministry because he will always be looking for another assignment or the path of ease and least resistance. 

The one who excels in Replanting is rooted, seated, fixed and committed to the accomplishment of the vision God has granted—not by his own power but by the power of Christ.

And on those Sundays when the wheels are coming off the bus he knows that all is not lost because our Lord promises this…..

Your labor is not in vain.

Be steadfast brothers, Christ has given us victory!

Published November 3, 2015

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Bob Bickford

Bob Bickford is a Replant Pastor in suburban St. Louis, serves as the Associate Director of Replant for the North American Mission Board and is the co-author of Am I a Replanter,  Pathways to Partnership and the Associational Replanting Guide. Follow Bob on twitter @bobick