Good question. Why would anyone plant a church in Malden, Massachusetts? Of all the cities in these United State of 'Merica - no scratch that - out of all the cities on all 7 continents, why this little city on the north side of Boston that's "home" to 60,000 of the 7 billion people (0.00009%) on this planet earth? Why would anyone plant a church in Malden? There are definitely sexier, cooler, trendier, more populous, more prestigious, more awe-inspiring cities one could plant a church in, so why Malden? The answer is really simple actually. We're planting a church in Malden, because God loves Malden.
Yea, you might've skimmed past that last line, but it's the most important line of this whole thing: God loves Malden and her people. He does. I know...well, because the Bible told me so. One of Jesus' disciples John wrote, "For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life" (John 3:16). It's cliché, but only because it's true and that should hit you hard - real hard. God loves this world, which includes the city of Malden, Mass.
And because God loves Malden, He longs for her people to know His son, Jesus, through whom we can know God. And to know Jesus, people have to hear about Him. And for people to hear about Him, there need to be people that talk about Him. And where there are a people that talk about him, you've got a church. And that's exactly what we want to be. A church that makes Jesus known in Malden!
We want to be a community that loves this city and her people, not because we think we can make it a better place to live or because we think we can change people on our own terms, but simply because God loves this city. And because God loves it, we love it. If the motivation to plant this church is because we think we can make this a better place to live, we are no better than a civic non-profit. If our motivation is to change people on our own terms, then we are no better than a rehab program. If our motivation is to run a profitable venture then we are no better than a corner store. But we are none of those things, because God calls us to be the church - those devoted to the knowing Jesus and making Jesus known. And for us, that's happening in Malden, MA.
Whether you're in Malden or Madagascar, wherever you are right now, consider how you could love your neighbors knowing God loves them, too. Let's make Jesus known.
|Check out more from Dan and Caroline at http://www.surpassingworth.com|