"I am a church leader interested in church planting in North America"
Many church leaders in our generation do not feel comfortable with church planting. Church planting infers division—a congregational split. They are frightened that a new church planting will siphon away members from already existing (perhaps dwindling) churches. "It costs too much money" is another objection. "We have a hard enough time maintaining our current building and mission and educational program," they think.
The nature of the church, however, like all living organisms, is to reproduce. Young people marry, become parents, and over a period of time grandparents and great-grandparents.
Lighthouses can shine only so bright and so far. Until a ship is within its range, the lighthouse is unable to help. Likewise, when people travel over 10-15 miles to a church building out of their community, they are driving "to church" away from the context of ministry. The church, God’s lighthouse, reaches only those within its range. How many churches are needed to be God’s lighthouses to urban and suburban contexts?
The planting of new churches in suburbs where young families live also provides a breath of new life. Jerry Browder, elder of the Singing Oaks Church of Christ in Denton, Texas says, "We must trust God to plant churches that our children and grandchildren will attend."
While remaining faithful to the Bible we must plant churches that positively connect with unbelievers, create vibrant community and reflect theologies of the kingdom of God and the gospel of Jesus Christ. We must continue to restore God’s intention for the His church. This requires that the Bible be emphasized as the source of God’s word and baptism be affirmed as our participation in the death, burial, and resurrection, where God cleanses the sinner, makes him a new person, and indwells him with the Holy Spirit.
In the early church God worked through both church planters and waterers. Paul wrote, "I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow" (1 Cor. 3:6). Where are the church planters of our generation? Many are frustrated. They become overseas missionaries because of the resistance to planting churches in North America. Often they faithfully minister in local churches with feelings of dissonance because they are not fulfilling God’s call for them in their lives. Sometimes they even leave the church with sadness and/or in frustration.
What is our role as visionary leaders?
We must encourage young evangelists called into church planting
Since it is natural for local churches to reproduce, we must plan with our local congregations to plant other churches
We must seek training for these evangelists, who desire to plant churches in very complex, changing urban contexts. These plans will give purpose to the church and reflect the missionary heart of God.
Mission Alive’s task is to work with local churches to equip and nurture church planters to establish growing, reproducing churches that reflect the nature of God.
Is your congregation ready to become a church planting church?
Are you ready to plant churches for the next generation?
Is there a developing community near you that needs a fresh witness of the gospel of Jesus Christ?
- Contact Mission Alive to discuss how your congregation can partner with Mission Alive in church planting
- Develop a Church Planting Network to work together for the spiritual renewal of your region