In our examination of the stages in replanting a church we began with the hard work of plowing—which prepares the ground to receive the seeds of the gospel. In the next stage, planting, we highlighted the work of embedding the gospel intof every life and activity of the church.
Today we look at the important work of watering the implanted gospel seeds.
Paul, writing in 1 Corinthians 3, provides us with insights into the unique roles he an Apollos shared in the spread of the gospel.
What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, as the Lord assigned to each. I planted, Apollos watered… 1 Corinthians 3:5-6a
What was Apollos’ work of watering? Acts 18 may provide some insight: Now a Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria, came to Ephesus. He was an eloquent man, competent in the Scriptures. He had been instructed in the way of the Lord. And being fervent in (the) spirit, he spoke and taught accurately the things concerning Jesus… he greatly helped those who through grace had believed, for he powerfully refuted the Jews in public, showing by the Scriptures that the Christ was Jesus.
Apollos’ assignment was the clear proclamation of the gospel, rooted in the scriptures, empowered by the Spirit for the practical help and edification of believers and the defense of the faith to skeptics and doubters.
A church that has been in decline may have been lacking:
- Consistent and clear communication of the gospel message
- Exegetical teaching from God’s word
- Spirit empowered preaching
- Practical application of God’s truth to everyday life
- A powerful apologetic for Jesus in the culture
The public proclamation and skilled teaching of the gospel are central to the development of a healthy and vibrant church.
Replanters and Revitalizers must be fundamentally committed to:
- Sermon preparation and evaluation
- The centrality of the Gospel in their teaching
- The devotion to and reliance upon The Spirit in all of the processes involved in preaching (Prayer, Planning, Preparation and Proclamation)
- Equipping and challenging the congregation to respond in obedience in everyday life
As the gospel is proclaimed through Spirit empowered preaching God produces growth. On Thursday we’ll examine what to preach when you are just starting out as a replanter or revitalizer. In next week’s post we’ll take a examine the last stage of replanting: The Harvest.
Published December 23, 2021