When Ernest Shackleton, the famous explorer, was seeking manpower for his epic Antarctic expedition he allegedly placed the following notice in the London press.
The great Pioneer, the Lord Jesus, has his own call for manpower that is infinitely more demanding. To all who follow him he commands - in your going make disciples of all nations. Planting new churches is one main way to fulfil this commission.
The call to be involved in the planting of new churches has a host of hazards. There will be no hiding from hard work, if the loos need scrubbed its your job. You will be the first to arrive and the last to leave every time the church gathers. If you have children they will not have the luxury of loads of other children their age. You will have to leave behind tourism church attendance, flitting around on a Sabbath evening in search of a juicy sermon. Forget about being a ten percent tither this is the deep end, it is two mite service territory.
You will have the danger of vulnerability as you open our home and heart to the stranger.
You will face the darkness of people leaving as quickly as they have arrived. There will be the darkness of isolation when the prayer support of the many sifts away to the faithful few.
We can't promise you success with loads of new faces being added week by week.
In fact we can't promise you that there will even be a congregation in ten years. No one will ever read about your sacrifice in the papers or even this blog.
But in another world there will be honour and recognition, of that you can be absolutely sure.
If the King of the nations is stirring your heart to reach the tens of thousands in East Belfast, the hundreds of thousands in Dublin or the thousands in Enniskillen then go and speak to your elders.
And talking about elders which of you is going to lead by example. Let your people see that the Great Commission is indeed truly great.
Apparently Shackleton was inundated with men willing to go. Of these he took twenty eight. That would be enough to have each of our present church planting scenarios move on to a new level.
Will you be one saying, Here am I send me.