We are committed to church planting. Because we strongly believe in the supremacy of Christ and the promises He has made regarding His church, we are seeking to plant growing, scripturally saturated, culturally concerned, Christ and cross centered churches. These churches will be focused on training and equipping Christ’s people for the work of His ministry.
Introduction: Why Plant Churches?
Why should we be concerned with church planting? Is there really a need to start new churches? Why don’t we simply spend the time and energy revitalizing already existing churches? A major focus should always be church revitalization; but with that said, there are several reasons that church planting should also be seen as not only expedient, but vital. Among these reasons are 1) it is biblical and 2) it is practical.
It is Biblical.
The Bible speaks of church planting quite often. It might not use the words “church plant” or “church launch,” but it viewed it at times as the fulfilling of Christ’s two last great commissions. Matthew 28:18-20 has been labeled as the “Great Commission.” In it Christ tells his followers to make disciples of all people groups. But Christ’s last great commissioning is found in Acts 1:4-8. The people ask the resurrected Christ if he will establish the kingdom at that point. He tells them to be patient and wait for the coming of a different type of ministry from the Spirit before embarking on making disciples of the nations. This is important for it is the Spirit that guides the Church at Antioch to send Paul and Barnabas into church planting in Acts 13:1-3. The leading of the Spirit in fulfilling the great commission was to see churches started. The church of Antioch was the first church recorded to formally (by laying on of hands) send out church planters. The church was not only willing to see others churches planted, but they were willing to give of their resources and to give of the best of their leaders to church planting.
It is Practical.
If our goal is to see Christ honored among all people groups, how do we best accomplish that? While starting new churches is not the only way, we believe that it is one of the best ways already existing churches can use their time and resources.
Bill Easmun states “Studies show that if a denomination wishes to reach more people, the number of new churches it begins each year must equal at least 3% of the denomination’s existing churches.” While this applies to denominations, this can also apply to independent churches. Churches must reduplicate in order to continue to have any influence in North America. Ed Stetzer states it this way: “In 1900, the Census Bureau counted 212,000 churches. In 2000, the number of churches that existed in the United States was 349,506. In other words, the number of churches increased just over 50 percent while the population of the country has almost quadrupled.” Not only has the church not kept up with the population growth in America, but it has also not kept up with the urbanization of certain areas (i.e. inner cities and western metropolitan areas).
Planting new churches is vital if we are to propagate the gospel. As cities expand, their borders are riddled with unreached people that need new churches.