Preaching is the great business of a pastor-teacher. Those precious moments in the pulpit, where the congregation sits together under the Word of God, are the highlight of the worship service and the highlight of each week. Regardless of the location, theology, or style of the church, we all agree the public reading and preaching of Scripture is vital to an able-bodied faith family (1 Tim. 4:13; 2 Tim. 4:2).
Many young men will follow in the footsteps of older, faithful pastors who diligently preached the Word of God. The job for those fresh, new pastors will be to take the heavy mantle of preaching upon their shoulders and walk in the same direction as their predecessor. It’s never an easy task to preach, but the tempo has been established, the sheep know what their diet is to be, and it’s the new pastor’s privilege to faithfully feed it to them. But what if the church the Lord places you in does not have this kind of legacy?
This is often the case in churches that need to be “replanted” or “revitalized.” More often than not, a church in need of revitalization abandoned biblical preaching years earlier. This was the case in the church replant that God called us to several years ago. To my understanding, when I came as the interim pastor in June 2014 and said, “Turn to Galatians 1:1,” it was the first time (or first time in a long time) the church began a sermon series through an entire book of the Bible. In fact, I recall one of the long-time members mentioning that they had never experienced consecutive exposition before! Needless to say, the foundation under the pulpit had fractured long before my arrival.
When you consider words like “replant” or “revitalization,” the prefix “re” indicates what once was done needs to happen again. Specifically, regarding this topic, it’s vital for a church that has lost its legacy of proclaiming the Word be called back to it once again. This is the main difference between a replanter and a “normal” pastor. The replanter has damage control to do. He has a foundation to seal. This will mean the replanter’s points of emphasis will be different than the pastor of an established church. Although they pull from the same food source, the nutrition will be different. A specialized diet will need to be enforced in the church replant to help bring their areas of malnourishment to health.
The replanter often has a church full of people who are “unskilled in the Word of righteousness” who are “not ready” for the meat of the Word (Heb. 5:12-13; I Cor. 3:2). He, therefore, feeds the “milk of the Word” to them will diligence and care whereas a pastor of an established, faithful church dishes the meat of the Word regularly because the body to whom he ministers is mature and able to feast upon it. Simply put, the preaching is different between these two kinds of churches because the maturity level is different between these two kinds of churches.
A great deal has happened over the last three years of ministry of our replant. In fact, as I survey what God by his grace has brought about, it appears that the replant has taken hold! If the Lord were to ever move us away from here, the next pastor could simply build upon the foundation that God has reset. And, for that, may he receive all the glory and praise.
Article by: Brandon Dyer