“And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it.”  - Matthew 16:18 (NRSV)

Jesus describes the secret to building and revitalizing a church in this one verse. Jesus, weary from ministry on the road, defending himself from the Pharisees in the temple and the physical journey toward the cross, asked his disciples “…who do people say that I am?”  The disciples tell him that some people say John the Baptist or one of the prophets. Then Peter leaps forward and says, “You are the Christ, the son of the living God.” (Matthew 16:16 CEB) Jesus responds with the scripture above…”upon this rock, I will build my church.” In John Wesley’s explanatory notes, you will see that Wesley believed it was not just Peter that Jesus was referring to, but Peter’s “Profession of Faith.” The proclamation of the Gospel founded on the fact that Jesus was the Christ, the Messiah, the very Son of the Living God.

When pastors and church leaders get it deep in their bones that Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah, the very Son of the Living God, they lead their congregations differently. They minister to this world in a way where they know that Hell’s gates, here and now, cannot stand in their way of rescuing those who are perishing, offering hope to the hopeless and sharing God’s grace freely with everyone. They openly “Proclaim the Gospel.”

As Church leaders, we have nothing of value to offer our congregations, or this world, but Christ. When churches are built upon anything other than the rock Jesus describes, it is like the foolish man building his house on the sand. When the winds and waves came, it was easily destroyed.

As you Reboot your ministries, question what are your ministries built upon? Are you doing really good ministries for the sake of doing good or for the sake of Christ? Are you preaching and teaching Christ as the Messiah and the very Son of God with all the power, glory and grace that entails? Are you offering hope to the hopeless; grace to those who think they are beyond it? Are you leading people into new life, beyond the gates they are trapped behind?

What is being proclaimed by your church and its ministry?

Lead them with Love and Grace!

Dr. Leah S. Hidde-Gregory, Executive Director
Center for Evangelism, Mission and Church Growth

Storm the Gates!
Matthew 16:18