Birth A Church from Yours

Posted by admin | Church planting | Thursday 3 September 2009 4:25 pm

Plant a Church Out of Yours

By Dave

After His resurrection, Jesus Christ spoke to a large group–possibly the 500 of I Corinthians 15:8–and gave the Great Commission: “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them . . .teaching them to observe all things . . .” (Matthew 28:19-20). These are the main marching orders of the church: to evangelize, baptize, and teach.

Though every Christian has a responsibility to obey Jesus’ command, a pastor especially feels its burden, for he is commanded in II Timothy 4:5 to “do the work of an evangelist.” The word for work, ergon, is also used in II Thessalonians 3:10, “if any would not work, neither should he eat.” The work of evangelism is compared to the hard work of earning a living! A pastor, gifted to shepherd and teach, may struggle with his responsibility to evangelize.

When I pastored in Wisconsin, I asked my assistant to kick me out of my office each Thursday to do “cold-call” visiting with me. I knew we would have people at church on Sunday even if we didn’t go, but I also knew the weakness of my flesh. I, like most pastors, would rather study in a comfortable office than do the work of an evangelist.

Do you need help obeying your main marching orders? Perhaps, like me, you have used Sunday school outreaches, training programs, Bible studies, door-knocking blitzes, ladies’ visitation, letter-writing, new move-in outreach, and other methods to reach people. All these are fine. Use them. However, the primary, though neglected, New Testament means of fulfilling the Great Commission is church planting. Starting new churches may be the most effective means of evangelism.

WHY CHURCH PLANTING IS EFFECTIVE EVANGELISM

Church planting is full obedience to the Great Commission

A foreign missions program, though Biblical and blessed, does not completely fulfill the Great Commission. Christ’s command includes “Judea and Samaria”–the areas just beyond the geographical area that your church can effectively reach, just outside the distance people are willing to come to you. It may be 5 miles or 50, depending on local demographic and means of transportation. Starting churches outside this circle, in your “Judea and Samaria, moves you toward complete obedience to the Great Commission.

Church planting is good stewardship of evangelism funds

I strongly support foreign missions. When we traveled in full-time itinerant evangelism, we maintained a tape and book table. All profits went into our foreign mission’s fund and we took preaching mission trips to Argentina, Brazil, Puerto Rico, Jamaica, England, Germany, Hungary, and Russia. A primary motivation for our ministry of re-seeding America with new churches is the need to broaden the base of financial support and supply potential missionaries for foreign fields. However, consider the following facts.

A typical missionary has to spend up to 4 years raising support to stay an average of less than 8 years on the field. He wrestles with a new language and culture shock. Those he attempts to reach for Christ may be slow to trust him because they do not understand his teaching. After a few years, he must leave his small, struggling group of believers for a year to return to the states for the required furlough. Your church willingly devotes thousands of dollars to sending and keeping this sacrificial missionary on the foreign field.

In contrast, how much would it cost to start a new church in your own Judea—a church that would soon support and send out foreign missionaries and eventually plant other churches? Claudia and I rejoice often when we hear of churches we have assisted financially supporting church planters and foreign missionaries. Do the numbers. Keep on supporting foreign missions, but make a wise investment in church planting as well.

Church planting helps you reach more people with the gospel

Over 20 years ago, a group of folks left a church I planted and pastored to start another. Though I felt the pain of that loss, I am now thankful it happened. I didn’t plan it (or finance it!), but a new fundamental church was born out of the old (and our church grew by 20% the next year). Today, both churches are thriving and preaching the gospel in different parts of a large, needy city. Those 2 churches will reach more souls than 1 church. By dividing, God multiplied.

Whose kingdom are you building? If your desire is to build the kingdom of God (and not the kingdom of you), you will build it more effectively by branching out–like Starbucks or McDonalds—than by building one large organization or building. If you plant a new church from an existing one, God will take care of you, your flock, and your finances. You will not lose; you will multiply as God blesses your unselfish efforts to win souls.

Church planting gets your people involved in ministry

If you plant another church out of yours, you will find your folks doing more than just dropping money into the offering plate for overseas mission projects. Starting a new church requires the help of many believers, to canvass, make phone calls, prepare mailings, work in the nursery, usher, set up the meeting room, provide special music, and of course – bring lasagna to the potluck supper. Folks who have only been pew-sitters may find new purpose in using their gifts to build the Kingdom. The church planting adventure, a thrilling ride of work, faith, and miraculous answers to prayer, offers a unique opportunity for believers to “do the work of the ministry” (Ephesians 4:11-12).

HOW TO DO EFFECTIVE CHURCH PLANTING EVANGELISM

Philosophy – “ . . . all to the glory of God”(I Corinthians 10:31).

Planting a church out of your church starts with you, Pastor. You must get past believing the lie that ministry success is determined by the size of your congregation. You must be committed to building the kingdom of God instead of a personal kingdom, and be convinced that, in the long run, several churches in your city will win more souls than one.

Prayer – “Ye have not because ye ask not”(James 4:2).

Pray that God will send folks to you who live in strategic areas of your Judea. Ask them to pray that one day God will use them to start a church in their neighborhood. Be ready and willing to send them out.

Program – “He calls – He provides” (I Thessalonians 5:24).

Ask God to show you the best method for your area. It may be a Bible study, “The Phone’s for You” program (www.ipresson.com), canvassing and special meetings (www.bcpm.org), or a number of other ways. God will reveal His method to a willing servant.

Consider the following church planting parable by my wife.

Two Coffee Shops

A parable for pastors

by Claudia

Once upon a time, there were two brothers, Al and Zack. Al liked making coffee. He served it in his kitchen. “This is delicious,” people said, and they invited others. Soon the group outgrew Al’s kitchen. He set up chairs in the living room. Al liked people—liked knowing their names, their joys and sorrows.

The group grew. They rented a building. Soon, they bought it. Still more came. They expanded into the building next door, and then added on. They were now in debt, but a thousand could be seated at once. Still people came, some from far away.

Al’s became the biggest, fastest-growing coffee shop around. Aspiring coffee-makers admired him. Everybody in the coffee world knew his name. He was a success. But now Al spent more time overseeing staff than brewing coffee. He worried about debt. He began diluting his coffee, just a little bit, to increase profits.

Al missed the old days, and his brother. Zack had also once served coffee in his kitchen, in his living room, and in a rented building. Zack’s shop also expanded, again and again. It was crowded, but still people came, some from far away. Zack sketched expansion plans and contemplated a big loan.

Then one of Zack’s customers suggested, “Teach me to make coffee. I’ll serve it in my kitchen to people who have been driving here. Then you’ll have more room.”

Soon there were two coffee shops rather than one. Whenever Zack’s shop gets too crowded, he just does it again. He never applied for that loan. And more people than ever are drinking coffee.

Zack still mingles with the people in his shop. He knows their names, their joys and sorrows. They think he’s a success. He spends more time brewing coffee than overseeing staff. And he’s never even considered diluting the coffee.

Are you hungry to completely fulfill the Great Commission? Plant a church in your Judea!

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