The scriptures in Acts Chapter 14 reveals to us 10 steps to a Biblical model of the church planting process.
In Acts 14:21-28, we see how Paul and Barnabas on their first missionary journey began the new churches in Galatia.
1. The first thing they did was they preached. Acts 14:21 tells us they preached the gospel to that city. The Greek word used for preached in this verse is the same Greek word that gives us words in English such as evangelize, evangel, evangelistic. All come directly from this particular Greek word. The phrase means they evangelized the city. It doesn’t mean they did it by preaching on street corners or going door to door etc. because those are methods. Methods change. The point we need to understand is that they evangelized. They preached to that city. It implies that they preached the gospel to one and all alike. They weren’t selective, they preached to everyone.
The went to the word of God and gave people the gospel. They did not rely on modern church planting methods of marketing and advertising to draw people in.
Paul knew it’s not what you say, but what your listener hears that makes the difference. He wanted to make sure they heard the gospel. Paul had a good balance between public preaching and personal witness.
The practical application here for the church planter starting a new church is not to get hung up on a method or even a couple of methods.
Paul preached to crowds, he ministered to individuals. He did whatever, however, at whatever time in order to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ. In everything Paul did, there was always an emphasis on face to face communication. This is the first step on the field to planting a church. The people must hear the gospel and have a chance to accept or reject. This is the first and foremost foundation of how to plant a church.
2. The second step is they taught (vs 21 – and had taught many). The Greek word (verb is Matte Ta osate), the same
word that appears in Matthew 28 as disciple all nations. (Go ye into all the word and teach).
The word teach in this context in Greek gives us our word disciple. Notice the words, they preached the gospel to the city but it doesn’t say they discipled the city, but that they discipled many. They preached the gospel to one and all and those who responded they discipled them.
So in other words, the practical application is you preach and then you teach those who respond. Once you have a successful church plant, then teaching, or discipleship, is the key on how to grow a church.
Once people become born again or have accepted the Lord Jesus Christ, they must begin growing in their faith. So, this is what Paul and Barnabas was doing here. They taught the people after they came to faith.
The word teach means to disciple. A disciple is a learner and to disciple is to teach. When we talk about offering salvation to people, we need to make sure that we’re helping people to understand that receiving salvation is the fruit of conversion. It is a turning around. It is a change of lifestyle. Not just getting something, it’s a change of lifestyle.
That’s what it means to become a follower of Jesus Christ. Christianity is about being a disciple of Jesus Christ! It definitely involves salvation, being born again, conversion, which we need to explain that.
This is what Paul is doing here. He’s taking people to whom he has preached and they have responded. He’s discipling them and getting them established in their faith.
This is the first two steps on how to plant a church.
Read the next two steps of the 10 step church plant process to Start A Church.