Writings on Christianity

2 Motivations to Plant a Church: Haggai 1:8

2 Motivations to Plant a Church: Haggai 1:8

Go up to the hills and bring wood and build the house, that I may take pleasure in it and that I may be glorified, says the LORD. (Haggai 1:8 ESV)

Upon returning from exile, God raised up the prophets Haggai and Zechariah to encourage the people to rebuild the temple. The temple had been destroyed years earlier and now the time had come to build it again. The challenges for undertaking God’s work were many and the task was arduous. Knowing this, God kindly raised up these prophets to speak His Word and help the Israelites in their work.

In the opening recorded address, we see God, through Haggai, call the people to examine their ways. Were they willing to move beyond pursing their own self-interests and pleasures to do God’s work (1:3-7)? He then gives a two motivations to build the temple: “Go up to the hills and bring wood and build the house, that I may take pleasure in it and that I may be glorified, says the LORD” (1:8). The motivations here are the pleasure of God and the glorifying of God. God wanted His people to turn away from self-centered motivations and agendas (neglecting God’s work to build one’s own house and possessions 1:3-7, 9-11) and to undertake God’s work with godly motivations.
It is these two motivations—seeking the pleasure of God and seeking the glory of God—that help us today as we seek to turn from self-centered preoccupations to the task of fulfilling the Great Commission (Matt 28:18-20). This is vitally relevant to us as we plant a church in Naperville.COCF_LightBG_onRed

Planting a Church for the Pleasure of God

Even though God is completely satisfied in Himself, He takes pleasure in His people and in their works. God rejoices over His people (Zeph 3:17) and their works and we are called to seek to please Him (Col 1:10). He is our heart’s joy, and it is our joy to please our Heavenly Father who watches over us and loves us. Thus, one motivation we have in planting a church is seeking to please God. We pray that God will be pleased: pleased as we seek to obey the Great Commission; pleased as God’s Word goes forth and the gospel bears fruit in changed lives; pleased in seeing the lost repent and believe the gospel; pleased in seeing His people grow in godliness and love; pleased in seeing the community transformed; pleased in seeing more churches planted. Pleasing God ought to be one of our core motivations as we plant a church. And as it is, it purifies our motives in the various tasks and gives us courage to undertake God’s work despite the cost.

Planting a Church for the Glory of God

The Westminster Confession summarizes why we are here and why God made us: “To glorify God and enjoy Him forever.” This is why we exist: exalting, magnifying and proclaiming the objectively beautiful glory of God and enjoying a relationship with God forever. We were made to have joy in God and to proclaim Him in our world. So a second motivation for us in planting a church is the glory of God. We plant a church because God deserves to be worshiped and celebrated by His people. Our motivation is not so that others will think much of us, but so that others will think much of Jesus and His wonderful victory over sin and death at the cross and resurrection. The longing to see God’s fame—a fame that is not fleeting like ours, but is objectively beautiful and lasts forever—compels us to turn away from self-interest and to undertake the mission God has given us—making disciples of all nations. Our hope is that God will be glorified by more and more people as we plant a church, because God is wonderful and amazing. He deserves our worship and our sacrifice.

Of course there are other godly motivations for planting a church, but these 2 motivations drawn from Haggai 1:8 are instructive for us as we plant Cross of Christ Fellowship in Naperville.


By Tom Schmidt

Christian, husband of Rach, Church Planter,musician,

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