Organization and administration are important aspects of starting a church. However, it must be understood that church building is a spiritual process. Many church leadership seminars, which include slick marketing and technology, may leave God completely out of the process. We must remember that Christ said, “ I will build my church.” Church building is God’s business. Relegating church planting to personal administrative processes alone is to misunderstand the most important element; God must build the church.
Church planting is a battle and Satan will oppose all our efforts. “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Ephesians 6:12). There are many ways Satan can hinder the work of God, but the most critical battles are waged over the souls of men. Men’s minds are blinded by the devil.
God’s choicest servants are often targeted with the most severe attacks of Satan. If the devil can destroy the man of God and his family, the rest of the flock will be scattered as well. Men must be prepared to recognize, resist, and fight against the devil. “And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness” (2 Corinthians 11:14-15). A man’s family and health are often targeted and a faithful man of God must be determined to wage war against the prince of the air.
There are several methods Satan utilizes to destroy the work of God:
1. Satan Has Blinded Men’s Minds Concerning Their Lost Condition
Only the Spirit of God can convict a man of his need for Christ. A proper presentation of the Gospel does not always guarantee a man’s conversion. We must learn to depend upon prayer and the Word of God to remove the veil from men’s eyes.
2. Satan Often Uses Men to Achieve His End
A Bible example can be found in first Timothy chapter one: “Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck: Of whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander; whom I have delivered unto Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme.” A good shepherd is always guarding his sheep from false prophets and wolves in sheep clothing. A very real battle rages in every new church and the man of God must be sensitive to the deceitful works of Satan.
3. Satan Tries to Snatch the Seed of the Word After it Is Sown
“And these are they by the way side, where the word is sown; but when they have heard, Satan cometh immediately, and taketh away the word that was sown in their hearts.” Mark 4:15
It is remarkable that upon sowing the seed through witnessing that an unsaved man will suddenly be bombarded by false cults and religions. It is critical that preachers continue to water and nurture the seed after it is sown.
4. Satan’s Plan Is to Destroy Every New Church
The devil is not happy when a lighthouse is established in his territory. Beware of his methods. We must never underestimate the power of Satan to destroy the work of God.
“For some are already turned aside after Satan.” 1 Timothy 5:15
“Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck:” 1 Timothy 1:19
5. Satan Desires to Build Strongholds in People’s Lives
“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled.” 2 Corinthians 10:3–6
Many new converts have been influenced by addictions, habits, and patterns of living that are destroying their homes and their personal lives. It is important to recognize that these issues are part of the spiritual battle that preachers must face.
God Has Equipped Us to Fight This Spiritual War
“Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.” 1 John 4:4
Though Satan is powerful, God is stronger. We can effectively fight and win against the methods of the devil.
One of the primary weapons of war is prayer.
“Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;” Ephesians 6:18
“And when he was come into the house, his disciples asked him privately, Why could not we cast him out? And he said unto them, This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting.” Mark 9:28–29
We must utilize prayer as an integral aspect of the ministry. Our prayer life must be earnest and sometimes include fasting. The prayer that is needed to build a church is more than a casual Wednesday night prayer meeting. It must be serious and agonizing.
Our second means of battling the devil is the Word of God. We must know the Bible and depend upon the Word of God to defend the work of church building. We can win the battle for the souls of men, but it is impossible without prayer and the Word of God.