Five Reasons for Church Planting
Tim Keller said, “The vigorous, continual planting of new congregations is the single most crucial strategy for the numerical growth of the body of Christ in a city and the continual corporate renewal and revival of the existing churches in a city.”
Denominations and churches are investing much time, money, and personnel into church planting. Networks of churches, like Stadia, ARC, Acts 29, Converge, New Thing Network, and SEND Network, have come together for the primary purpose of planting new churches.
Why is there so much interest in church planting?
1. People Need the Gospel
New Churches make disciples more proficiently than established churches (Matthew 28:16-20). Stuart Murray founded the first accredited university in the United Kingdom with a church planting and evangelism degree. Murray believes that new churches draw converts and unchurched people into their congregations. He believes church planting is crucial to reaching people.
A church plant bought and transformed a bar in a downtown city to use as its church. I baptized a lady there and I asked her to share her story of faith. She said she used to sell drugs in that facility as a bar and now had given her life to Christ in the same space. People need the gospel!
2. Communities Need Churches of Reconciliation
Our cities are divided like never before. Political ideology, law enforcement, or a President is not the answer. Jesus is our only hope to unite our broken world. The real need in any community is a reconciled relationship with God through Jesus.
But now in Christ Jesus, you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, (Ephesians 2:13-15, ESV, emphasis added)
We don’t need more churches; we need gospel-proclaiming churches. As the world gets darker, the churches that emphasize the light of Jesus, rather than any other thing, will become beacons of hope in a foggy society.
3. God Needs Laborers for His Harvest
Jesus saw the crowds of people who were like sheep without a shepherd. His response was for the disciples to pray for more harvesters (Matthew 9:35-38; Luke 10:2).
Our Lord is a sending God whose harvesters gather His people together to send them into places to gather and then scatter. God sent His Son Jesus into the world to save and redeem all humankind from the curse of sin. Jesus sent the church as laborers to make disciples of people of all nations. When a church believes this battle cry of Jesus, more churches will be necessary to handle the births of new believers.
Will your church pray for and send its best leaders into God's harvest?
4. Christ, the Head of the Church, Needs a Body
Christ chose to use His spiritual body as the means to represent Himself to the world. The local church is a representative of Christ’s body in that community. The church embodies the Spirit, words, and activities of Jesus Christ, especially amongst those in the community. Jesus’ human body fully accomplished the incarnation among humans to seek and save them from their sins. The new church plant aims to become Christ’s representative in a specific local community or region.
A church does not exist just for its interests; it exists for the greater good of the community in which it resides. To properly represent Christ, a church embeds itself into the city with a clear message of hope through the One who can save them from their sins (1 Corinthians 9:19-23).
5. The Local Church Needs a Reproducing Mission
Aubrey Malphurs, professor of pastoral ministries at Dallas Theological Seminary, believes the secret to a vibrant Christianity is a pregnant church, culminating in reproduction. He emphasized the importance of a sending church preparing itself for reproduction (Nuts and Bolts of Church Planting, Malphurs, 2011). As a church is developing leaders, clarifying vision, sending people and resources, articulating doctrines, and strategizing for its mission, it will have a spiritual vibrancy accompanying these pre-birth activities.
In a scientific research project done in a Ph.D. dissertation researching 624 SBC churches that had planted a church, attendance rose 21.5% for the five years after a church plant. Additionally, monetary growth was favorable in 7 of the eight variables tested, including designated gifts (77% increase) and tithes (48%). (Source: Jeffrey C. Farmer, 2007).
A church on mission prioritizes its sending capacity over its seating capacity. This reproductive generosity brings health to the mother church as well as to the baby churches.
Five follow-up questions are in order once a person or church understand the five reasons why church planting is beneficial:
- Who? Who are the next planters, the senders, and the support team?
- Where? Where is a strategic location for the plant?
- When? When will the church plant begin gathering and launching?
- What? What resources of people, money, technology, and training will the sending church provide?
- How? How will the church planter relate to and be encouraged by the sending church?
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