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Church planting clearly demonstrates that church growth is possible. When a new church is planted, there is now either a new church community where there had been none before; or a stronger, larger church community than before the plant was started. Moreover, if a team arriving from a sending church initiated the plant, the sending church normally replaces those sent over time, thereby encouraging further growth. This may seem to be stating the obvious but it is important to be clear about this so we are not lulled into a belief that we are inevitably facing a culture of decline.
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CHURCH PLANTING ORDINATION PROGRAMMES
Church planters by nature are fast-moving, catalytic people. Taking time to properly prepare can be challenging. Yet, this was key to Jesus’ approach to preparing His disciples. He spent three years pouring Himself into them in order that the ministry He began could continue through them. In order for potential church planters to be effective they, too, must take time to prepare. There are a number of questions that need to be addressed before launching out on such a missional endeavor. Do you understand the basic purpose of church planting? Above all else, church planting is about expanding the kingdom of God through evangelizing unreached or under-reached people. it is essential that church planting be the major evangelistic strategy for reaching an emerging postmodern continent with a growing multinational influence.
Therefore, church planters should focus on planting the gospel. When the gospel is planted, as Paul put it, it is God who “makes it grow” (see 1 Cor. 3:6-7). When one focuses on planting the gospel among unreached people he becomes open to God’s process for building His church. On the other hand, when we focus on the planting of a church over the planting of the gospel, our focus can become organizational, programmatic, and institutional. Therefore, we must focus on the planting of the gospel that leads to intentional church planting. Do you have the proper motivation for planting?
As an organization contacted almost daily by individuals wanting to plant a church, the North American Mission Board (NAMB) has discovered countless reasons why people are motivated to plant churches. Some reasons are noble; others are not. We have found
that the most successful planters are those who usually say something like this: “God has given me a vision for going to a specific geographic area to plant a church or churches among a specific unreached people.”
There are three things that seem to continue to come up:
• A definite calling
• A specific place
• A specific people
It may be a calling to plant a church in Seattle among the homeless, or to plant in San Francisco among postmoderns, or to work in Flint with first-generation Arabs, but there seems to be a certainty to the task to which the individual feels called. Now this is not to say that everyone who wants to plant a church should know from day one where they are going and who they are called to reach. This often comes with time. However, there is a definite call that compels these planters to pursue a specific place and a specific people.
Are you ready to be a church planter???
What are you waiting for???