I adore the movie, The Princess Bride.
One of the reasons I love this movie is because Westly will do anything to save his precious Princess Buttercup from the evil Prince Humperdinck. He adores her without fail. When he says, “As you wish,” he’s really saying, “I love you.” In this movie, his love for Princess Buttercup is enough to bring him back to life so he can storm the castle and rescue her.
Jesus loves his bride, the church, infinitely more than Westly loved Princess Buttercup.
Maybe I’m crazy using a movie to remind you how much Jesus loves the church, but consider the following verses.
Isaiah 62:5 ESV “…as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so shall your God rejoice over you.”
Ephesians 5:25-27 ESV “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.”
How should we respond to the knowledge Christ loves his church, his bride, with an incomprehensible passion? What does that mean for us as church planters?
As church planters we can become distracted by the details related to the church. We complain about things like resources, attendance, facilities, people, and much more. Instead of heading down this path, we ought to stand back and see the bigger picture–like a wedding planner. In all we do for church planting we’re supposed to be preparing his precious bride for the glorious day in which the greatest love story ever told will be seen to completion. Praise be Jesus this day is on its way!
Allow Jesus’ love for his bride to change your thinking about church planting.
- Understand church planting is about being a part of the greater whole–Christ’s bride. View your church as a part of a larger whole. Your church may have begun without a mother church, but you’re part of something so much bigger and more glorious than you may have considered. We’re all Princess Buttercup in this analogy. Jesus looks on us with adoration. He pursues us relentlessly. He died and rose again and will be soon storming the castle!
- Understand church planting is all about Jesus. Such an obvious statement, but how many times do we get immersed in how we’re succeeding, or how we’re failing in our attempts to get a new church up and running? But it’s not about you! It is in that you are a part of Christ’s bride, but not more than that. We must not think of ourselves in too great or dark a light. We are Christ’s bride. No more, no less. It is a position of great honor, which we don’t deserve.
- Understand it’s our job to prepare his bride. A bride must be nourished so she won’t faint, so we’re to teach the church to nourish themselves with God’s word. A bride must be cloaked in white, so we are to pursue holiness in our churches. We must fight to teach what is right and pray our people will seek to be more like Jesus. Teach the tough passages. Don’t be afraid to stand firm in God’s word.
Someday soon we will be standing in glory receiving our bridegroom. As we await this incredible day, may we remember who we are. We are the church. We are Christ’s bride.
Lord, I pray that as we plant churches for your glory, you will help us to see ourselves as your bride. We are precious to you. You look upon us with favor and love. You died to set us free from earthly bondages. Thank you Jesus for loving us with a relentless love. You are so wonderful!