Friday, April 29, 2016

Church Planting Is for All Christians

By Robin G. Jordan

We read in the Acts of the Apostles that the Christian faith was spread by ordinary believers as well as apostles like Paul and Barnabas. We are, however, apt to overlook this fact. The result is often a distorted view of how the Christian faith spreads. Certainly the apostles played an important part in its spread but they often built on a foundation laid by those whose names the New Testament does not record. They watered what others had sown.

North American Anglicans and Episcopalians, accustomed as they are to churches led by seminary-educated, stipendiary clergy are prone to view the planting of new churches as the domain of “experts.” A body of church planting literature emphasizing church planter assessments, church planter boot camps, entrepreneurial church planters, and the like tends to reinforce this view.

Yet across the face of the planet Earth ordinary believers are planting flourishing new churches. While certain characteristics may be desirable in a church planter, the truth is that God uses all kinds of people to plant churches.

A denomination that is serious about fulfilling the Great Commission will shed its preconceived ideas about who should plants new church and how new churches should be planted along with similar ideas about what pattern of congregational life new churches should adopt. A denomination should not let such preconceived ideas become a barrier to its church planting efforts because it does not have the ideal church planter for a new church plant or the resources for a particular method of church planting or a community does not have the demographics for particular expression of Church. Christ has entrusted his Church with the task of making new disciples and one of the best way to form and multiply new disciples is through the planting of new churches.

Church planting is not about reversing the decline of a denomination or beating a rival denomination in a contest over which denomination boasts the largest number of churches. It is not about propagating a particular ideology. Church planting is about offering families and individuals something that the world cannot offer them—fellowship with God not only in this life but for all eternity. It is about creating communities in which the power of God to transform lives is evident to an unbelieving world.

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