In August, our core team began discussing what we’re calling “ministry-sustaining convictions.” These convictions are a collection of biblical truths that, if maintained, will ensure not only a strong start to a church plant, but will provide a sturdy foundation for the church even when it is (Lord willing) multiple generations old. The first of these convictions to which we must commit ourselves is the glory of God.
Defining God’s Glory In its most basic sense, the word glory simply means “weight.” Precious metals such as gold, silver, and bronze could be weighed, thereby revealing how much weight (glory) an individual possessed. As the weight of one’s possessions increased, the esteem to which they were entitled or granted by the community would also rise. One reason that biblical writers tediously recorded the specific dimensions, materials, and weights of buildings (the Tabernacle in Exodus 25-31, the Temple in First Kings 6, Solomon’s palace in First Kings 7) and even offerings (see Numbers 7 and First Kings 8) is so that readers, in hearing of the amount and weight, would get a sense of the glory of these structures, offerings, etc. Similarly, whatever is possessed by God, whatever makes God valuable, is His glory. This means that God’s glory is comprised of all that makes him God. And whatever God is, He is to an infinite, eternal, unfathomable degree. God’s love is infinite. His wrath is infinite. His mercy is infinite. He is eternally true. He is eternally faithful. He is unfathomably wise. His knowledge is beyond searching out. Truly, the God of the Scriptures is worthy of infinite praise, adoration, and blessing. In summary, “Great is Yahweh, and greatly to be praised, And His greatness is unsearchable” (Ps. 145:3). No truth can purify our motives for church planting more effectively than this one — God’s greatness, God’s glory, is unsearchable and must be made known.
Displaying God’s Glory God knows that He possesses unsearchable greatness. He expressly declares that there is no one like Him (Isa. 40:25; 43:11, 13; 44:7). It was because “He could swear by no one greater” that He swore by Himself when He made the promise to Abraham (Heb. 6:13). And God’s unsearchable greatness is the reason why anything exists outside of God. All things exist to display His glory. Put another way, all things display the greatness of God’s character in some way. This includes inanimate creatures (Ps. 19:1), man (Ecc. 12:13; Isa. 43:6-7), good works (Matt. 5:16), physical handicaps (Jn. 9:1-3), and salvation (Ps. 25:11; 130:3-4; 2Cor. 4:15). Church planting is no exception. Even church planting exists for the glory of God. New Orleans needs God-honoring, Christ-exalting, Spirit-led, Bible-preaching churches because God’s greatness is not adequately known there. As John Piper famously said, “Missions exists because worship doesn’t.” Worship, the proper response to beholding God’s unsearchable greatness, is the reason we want to plant a church in New Orleans. God must be honored, God must be known, God must be obeyed, God must be acknowledged for the great God that He is in New Orleans, Louisiana. Therefore, we must go. Every other reason for planting a church in New Orleans is subordinate to this one. The value of every other reason for church planting is determined by this one — how will God be glorified? Joel Beeke and Nick Thompson said it well, “A God-glorifying vision is always wedded to a church-building vision because it is through the strengthening and expansion of the church that God is most exalted in the world.” No more compelling reason exists for planting in New Orleans or anywhere else than that God must be glorified!