How Not to Start A Church

It is the Holy Spirit that imparts gifted men to shepherd His church, but from time to time, I hear of “churches” being started under the proposition that all are teachers, and so the teaching is passed around among men, and some of them are not called to teach. It usually happens when folks can’t find a good church and so they launch out to start their own with less than ideal (Biblically ordered) circumstances.

Albert Martin, in his book, speaks to this kind of situation in his book, "Man of God.” He quotes John Owen, "Where the Lord Christ gives no gifts, he hath no work to do…" and to do any different, “is to set up their own wisdom in opposition unto his and his authority." Martin himself comments on this kind of situation, “Without gifts, you are not a gift to Christ’s church. You may be an intruder into that office with sincere motives.” Al Martin, p186. Quoting Owen again, “A ministry without gifts is no ministry of Christ’s giving.”… it “is to despise Christ,” and “is to despise his authority and care,” because, ’nothing can be done without these spiritual gifts.” (Martin, p191)

With this in mind, I do believe it is legitimate for a group of people to meet together as a Bible study or prayer group to wait and pray for the sending or the arising of a pastor among them, but they should not call it a church, because it does not have biblically defined shepherds.

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