7 Reasons for Leading Your Church in Church Planting
J. D. Payne
I was recently asked to preach on the topic of church planting. Knowing that some people within the congregation would be asking the “Why” question, I included a list of seven reasons. And, here they are for you. Take this outline and unpack each point for your congregation as you lead them in such missionary activity.
The Biblical Reason
Obviously, this is the most important one. Biblical church planting is evangelism that results in new churches. Churches can be planted with long-term Kingdom citizens, but the weight of the Biblical evidence is upon the evangelistic work of those missionary teams.
While we are not commanded to plant churches, it is an inevitable result of obedience to the Great Commission, following the Apostolic pattern. As the Gospel was shared, new believers were gathered together as local churches, and elders were raised up for them.
The Evangelistic Reason
While age is not a guarantee of evangelistic effectiveness, in general, younger churches tend to have better baptism rates. Here are three findings: Evangelical churches 3 years of age and younger baptized 10 people for every 100 members while churches older than 15 years of age typically baptized three people for every 100 members (“Churches Die with Dignity,” Christianity Today (January 14, 1991), 69.)
Anglo churches ten years old and younger baptized 10.8 people per year, per 100 members. Churches older than ten years of age baptized 2.5 people per year, per 100 members (Charles, Chaney, “New Churches and the Unsaved,” Mission USA (January-February 1995), 12.).
An examination of established Southern Baptist churches revealed 3.4 baptisms per one hundred resident members, but new churches average 11.7 baptisms per one hundred such members (Ed Stetzer and Warren Bird, Viral Churches, 25).
The Demographic Reason
The population of the United States recently surpassed 300 million. Canada has approximately 32 million people. Among this population are men, women, boys, and girls representing various socio-economic and educational levels, a diversity of ages, backgrounds, and various family structures. It will require new churches to reach such a great and diverse population with the gospel.
The Cultural Reason
North America has a great amount of cultural diversity. The Hispanic community has now become the largest minority in the United States. Miami is a city unlike the rest of the state of Florida. In places around Vancouver, you are more likely to hear Chinese than English. Toronto consists of over half, non-Canadian born citizens.
We must always preach a never-changing gospel; however, our methods must be appropriately contextualized to the people to whom we are called. Each church has its own unique and distinct culture because of the people that make up that congregation. However, we cannot always expect people to embrace our culture (especially our church culture) in order to hear the Gospel. Missionary work is about meeting people in the highways and hedges, sharing the truth, gathering the new believers together as a local church, and allowing the cultural expressions to develop.
The Historical Reason
Because of a long chain of obedient disciples, the gospel arrived in our communities, resulting in new churches. We came to faith because of church planters. The church that is involved in church planting communicates, “We will not allow centuries of history to stop with us. We will not allow the faithfulness and sacrifice of our brothers and sisters to stop with us. We will look beyond ourselves (if the Lord delays) to a future generation in need of this same gospel!”
The Economic Reason
Clearly, some methods of church planting are very expense endeavors. And, unfortunately, in many U. S. and Canadian contexts they are the examples that get the most attention. However, if we allow the Scriptures to provide both our definition for a local church and the principles for church planting, we soon realize that such exorbitant resources are not necessary to plant healthy churches. Evangelism that results in churches does not have to be expensive to be Biblical, and thus fruitful. But know this: The money our churches invest in missionaries and resources for church planting is oftentimes a very wise and necessary investment for Kingdom work.
The Denominational Reason
Denominations that cease to plant churches today are denominations that will cease tomorrow. David T. Olson notes that 3,700 churches in the United States cease to exist at the end of every year (The American Church in Crisis, 146.). That is over 71 churches per week.
J. D. Payne serves with the North American Mission Board and The Southern Theological Seminary.
This article “7 Reasons for Leading Your Church in Church Planting” by J. D. Payne was excerpted from: www.yourchurch.com web site. May 2010. It may be used for study & research purposes only.
This article may not be written by an Apostolic author, but it contains many excellent principles and concepts that can be adapted to most churches. As the old saying goes “Eat the meat. Throw away the bones.”