Church planting is the process of someone starting a new church in a certain locale. The focus is often on the church plant or on starting a church and often the objective or purpose of why the church was started in the first place is all but forgotten. However, when we examine scripture, there’s no commission in the Bible to start a church. The commission is to make disciples.
However, in order to make disciples as instructed by the Lord in the Great Commission, there needs to be structure. The process of making disciples is done through God’s vehicle of the church. The process of making disciples establishes and reproduces the church body and therefore, it is very important to have a plan to new church planting in order to accomplish the mission. Without Biblical churches it is impossible to accomplish the mission of God’s plan.
Many people often refer to the church as a building. In reality, the church is a called out assembly of believers in Jesus Christ. The body of born again believers who assemble, whether in or out of a building, is what constitutes the church.
Since the heart of the Great Commission is making disciples, and discipleship flows through the veins of the church, there’s no way to accomplish the Great Commission without the church. The church is the vehicle through which God works through today so it’s essential to establish or plant Biblical churches in order to make disciples and reproduce itself to fulfill the mission of the Great Commission. This is why church planting ministries are important.
But what is the process to plant a church Biblically? What is it that needs to be done?
Did the Lord leave a commandment and then leave the planning and strategizing to men’s devices of modern church planting movements or marketing methods?
The Apostle Paul had a strategy to plant churches. When he went to Macedonia, his objective was to contact the Jewish nucleus. He would go into the synagogues and preach the gospel. Those who believed, he would take them and plant a local church. Since Paul was a Jewish rabbi and one of high influence in the Jewish culture, he could walk into a synagogue and start preaching and people would listen.
However, Paul wasn’t stuck on this one strategy or method. He said: “…I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.” (1 Cor 9:22)
The issue is the church planter must understand as the Apostle Paul did when planting churches. Paul wasn’t hung up on methods but he had a strategy and it changed according to the culture he was trying to penetrate. Being made all things to all men wasn’t compromise because he was faithful to the word of God.
He never compromised his position on God’s word, yet he was sensitive to the culture he was in. His purpose was to reach the lost and he did it regardless even if it required him to change his methods or strategy. He certainly could not reach pagan gentiles who knew nothing of scripture in a Jewish synagogue. Yet, Paul was highly effective in his church planting ministry, and he did not have modern technology. He just had the word of God.
The point being is that we must understand the principles of church planting more than modern methodology or marketing methods. This is valid principle for the church today. Our methodology will change. We cannot give a hard and fast method because by the time you get to the mission field, the methods will probably be out of date.
Even though Paul was flexible and he adapted in how he won people to Christ, his message was the same, he just went about it differently at different times. Once he won them to Christ, he had a strategy to planting churches. As previously mentioned, he would walk into a Jewish synagogue, preach the gospel and leave the half that didn’t believe there and the half that did, he took them and started a church.
The point is he had a plan to planting churches after he won them to Christ.
Let’s take a look at the Biblical method of church planting as found in Acts 14. Read…
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