A New Hymn about an Old Promise

“I will build My church…” (Matthew 16:18)

This momentous promise by our Savior is one of my favorite texts of the Scriptures. I’ve prayed it innumerable times, asking the Lord to keep His promise by building the local churches in which I’ve worked, or by blessing the work of our missionaries, or by demonstrating His power in unknown places and through unknown brothers and sisters around the world. “Lord Jesus, build Your church. Pull down hell’s gates. Deliver the lost. Win!”

Lord Jesus, build Your church. Pull down hell’s gates. Deliver the lost. Win!

I remember claiming this prayer on a Friday night in August of 1997, as I drove to the first Bible study at the home of Bob and Debbie Simcic—a study that would eventually become Tri-County Bible Church, a church plant in Madison, Ohio. Tucked safely into her car seat was my eldest daughter Rebekah, then just 3 months old. Her mother and I, hearts pounding, prayed together as we drove to the meeting: “Lord, we need You to do what we cannot. Please, Jesus, build your church.” It was a delight to reflect on that prayer and on God’s answer at the church’s 20th anniversary a few years ago.

I’ve claimed that promise countless times at Killian Hill Baptist Church, as well. And again, it was a joy to reflect on God’s faithful answer (that predates me!) as we celebrated the church’s 50th anniversary last fall. For that special occasion, Greg Habegger and I wrote a hymn that expresses both petition and praise based on Jesus’ promise: “Lord, Build Your Church.” The song is dedicated to KHBC, where we serve on the pastoral team together. Now we’re pleased to make it available to other churches, freely, and to introduce it through the beautiful vocals of our friend and fellow-KHBC-member Paul Keew. 

I’ve claimed that promise countless times, and God has been faithful to answer

Of course, the promise hasn’t been answered for just 20 or 50 years, but for 2,000 years. We are part of something ancient, something inevitable, something supernatural—the church of Jesus Christ. May the Lord who Owns and Builds the church be honored through this new hymn about an old promise. SDG! Grace!