Memorial Stones

By Adam Wyatt

In the context of church replanting a Replanter can easily get extremely frustrated and burnt out. It is of critical importance to see the victories in church Replanting no matter how small they may seem. One of the challenges of replanting is that the task is incredible big and overwhelming. To be honest, it should be viewed this way because nothing short of a outpouring of the working of the Holy Spirit will allow a church to be replanted. It took a while for a church to be in the place that it finds itself in, and it will take longer still to turn it around.

I am reminded of Joshua and his incredibly difficult task of leading the people to take the Promised Land. He had to take over for the greatest leader the Israelites had ever seen, and had to navigate past 40 years of barren ministry. And not only that, when he takes over, all he can see is a river in the way. Regardless, God shows his power by stopping the river so that the people can cross over. What is God’s first command? To set up a memorial to the miracle that he had just performed. They set up memorial stones to commemorate what God had done. Every time someone (particularly the young) asked what those stones where, the older people were to describe what they had seen God do and this was to ensure that the people never took their eyes off of God and always believed that He would do all that He said He would do.

In replanting there are several things that can serve as memorial stones, but only insofar as we are willing to ask specific questions of ourselves.

1)  What is worth rejoicing over?

It is easy to get completely exhausted in the struggle of leading people in a church that seems as if it is in a state of wandering in the wilderness. It is absolutely imperative that you celebrate the wins. Whatever they are, celebrate them. Rejoice over them. Celebrate in them. Notate them in some way so that you can remember that what you are doing is important and God is behind it all.

2)  What is worth repeating?
Sometimes is important to realize that not everything in a replant needs to be changed. This is actually quite freeing. As you navigate through a ineffective church culture celebrate the things that the church is doing well and make sure that they know you see it.

3)  What is worth rejecting?

No matter how much a church does right, a Replant will always have more that needs to be changed. However, there are some things that need to be outright rejected. Do not be afraid to take these challenges on with wisdom and foresight, but remember them later to ensure you and your church do not repeat them.

4)  What is worth repenting of?

Lastly, remember that there is sometimes a lot of sin that needs to be dealt with in order for a church to be replanted. This is by far the hardest thing to do, but often, it is the biggest memorial stone of all. Israel had spent 40 years in the wilderness all because they doubted God’s provision and faithfulness. It is possible that your people have suffered the same fate.
However, the beautiful, Gospel-centered good news in this is this: just as the Memorial Stones reminded the people of Israel that they had spent 40 years in the wilderness due to their sin, it also was a glorious reminder that God continued to be faithful to them in spite of. In essence, this is what a replant is. It is a demonstration of God’s continued faithfulness to His Bride in spite of their lack of faith and sin. God loves His Bride. That is something to be remembered.

Published May 3, 2016

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Adam Wyatt

Adam Wyatt is the senior pastor of First Baptist Church in Leakesvile, Mississippi. A second-generation pastor, he has developed a love for the rural church in the Southern context. He loves his wife, his three beautiful daughters, good conversation, books and coffee. He is also pursuing his PhD in Biblical Theology from Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City. Connect with Adam @pastor_adam