I've literally asked 100's of questions about Church Planting, but this one…

cantiI’ve literally asked or tweeted hundreds of questions about Church Planting, Including this one; “The Church Planting Question that could Change Everything!,”and there’s usually been some intense and fruitful midrash, but this one…

“Why, biblically speaking, can’t I completely jettison the idea of “church Planting?”

was met with dead silence. My friend @Apostlefarm, aka Billy Mitchell  suggested that I should blog about it and see if the response is any different. So, I decided to accept his challenge and likewise challenge ALL CHURCH PLANTERS to participate.  I understand it’s a difficult question, and I hope that there WILL BE some intense, but fruitful midrash.

So what do you think? “Why, biblically speaking, can’t I completely jettison the idea of “church Planting?”

0 thoughts on “I've literally asked 100's of questions about Church Planting, but this one…

  1. Joe says:

    I don’t believe I understand the question

  2. Mark Guinn says:

    I think the Bible presumes and in a few places explicitly teaches us to be tethered and sent in missional community. My experience of trying to walk out making disciples in a missional family without expressly “planting a church” is this: If we don’t actively form ideas, imagination, practice, and identity of what it is to be a local church community, then people will be confused and torn by the prevailing cultural ideas about church.

    If we don’t actively plant/tend/weed/garden a church community people who are waking up to the Lord will be drawn into unhealthy expressions of church that teach them legalism, busy-ness, passiveness, etc. etc. because they’re influenced by crazy stuff on the internet and well-meaning church-folk quoting Hebrews at them.

    If you mean “why can’t I jettison starting worship services and working really hard to attract a big crowd” then my answer is “the sooner the better.” I know that’s not what you personally mean though.

  3. David Woods says:

    I would think that an easy question. The same reason you can’t just jettison the Apostle. Most of the new testament is written to church plants by the apostles who planted them. The seven letters to the seven churches in Revelation is the same. It’s the Apostle who planted the church writing to correct each of his church plants. It’s the foundation of the spread of Christianity itself.

  4. Johnny says:

    Why would you want to jettison the idea of church planting?
    If you are not given the gifts/talent to know how to rally people to start a new congregation, or not given the opportunity to go into a place where good congregations do not already exist, then it is not your calling. I know however this is not true for you Miguel.

    Church planting is not as complex nor grandiose as our contemporary theological seminaries would have us believe, nor would it necessarily look like our contemporary western churches.

    Why would you want to jettison the idea of church planting?

  5. traviskolder says:

    I’ve had this discussion internally with myself as well, usually whenever someone gets really snarky on Twitter or a blog somewhere saying “Jesus never told us to plant churches, He told us to make disciples.”
    So, I get it, right. By dumping church planting, I think we loose a lot of the unhealthy parts of the “missional” conversation. We actually focus on making disciples (which, hello!, is what the Great Commission is actually about).

    The problem is, with what I see in the New Testament, what it looks like to make disciples is to teach them to live in community, serve one another, and encourage one another. That *is* church planting. The real problem isn’t biblical church planting, it’s church planting that happens without discipleship (and therefore mission) as the key organizing factor. Then it’s just someone looking for a job or a cool story to tell about what they did when they attracted a bunch of believers to their new worship gathering.

    By the way, Billy was right. This gets way more discussion here on the blog. 😉

  6. edwaken says:

    If we begin with “making disciples” instead of “church planting”, then churches will emerge. In my experience, once you begin by “making disciples” the disciples can’t help but meet together – churches emerge…but…when we begin with “church planting”, disciples are harder to emerge because the gathering becomes the focus instead of the making of disciples. I do not believe that simply meeting together develops disciples, it must be intentional and it can’t happen in larger groups that focus on gathering (study, singing, giving, announcements etc.). Those are not unimportant, they just don’t reproduce disciples. Disciples reproduce disciples. Why can’t we jettison the concept of church planting…maybe because church (planting) is what we have experienced and have been taught. Time will work for as we focus on making disciples which has never been easy. 2 Timothy 2 shares with us just how difficult it is to develop disciples. Hope these thoughts are of some benefit to all!

  7. Rob Kampen says:

    I guess the first thing is to redefine “church” as the New Testament writers saw it. The seven letters to the churches are actually written to a city wide church. Thus in the large cities addressed in Revelation, it is to all the believers in the city, meeting in many places / homes but united as Christ followers.
    Paul addresses the factions that were developing in Corinth and clearly addresses those that called themselves Baptist / Pentecostal / Reformed / Home church (oops Apollos / Cephas / Paul / Christ).
    Jesus’ prayer in John 17 needs to become ours too.
    We have embraced and regularly pray what we incorrectly call the “Lord’s Prayer” (more correctly “The disciples’ prayer”) and conveniently forgotten Jesus’ prayer as He is facing the impending desecration and destruction of His life – “… that they may be one …. known by their love …” as two key issues we seems to ignore as we try to justify our particular take on some very minor interpretation or theological nuance.
    So having clarified my definition of church (i.e. nothing to do with any four walls we may choose to gather in, or any name we may use to identify the gathering place) but rather all the believers that live in a particular place – in my case the City of Tauranga, New Zealand. Thus we pray for the church of Tauranga, we choose to never speak in any negative or unloving way about any of our brothers and sisters.
    So when one talks about another “church plant” it is merely another gathering place of believers in the city. The fact we have over 80+ such gathering places and growing each year is cause for celebration – why? well we believe that revival is imminent and when Holy Spirit moves across the city and folk choose to follow Jesus, we’ll need every gathering place and LOTS MORE!
    So let’s champion and support each and every believer that has a leadership gift and wants and desires to serve the body of Christ and His disciples in whatever way their calling takes them as Paul so succinctly outlines in Eph 4.
    Thus, no need to jettison the idea or concept of church planting, it was initiated 2000 years ago by Holy Spirit moving on men and women and them serving all the people in each local area / city to ensure they were all discipled into the church of that city. They also wrote what we now know as the letters to the churches / and leaders of that time – New Testament. Everything we need so that the Holy Spirit can lead and move us out of our comfort zones and into the planting, nurturing, teaching, encouraging needed to ensure that Jesus returns to a bride worthy of Him, ready, prepared and equipped to rule and reign.
    thanks for reading.

  8. Greg says:

    I wonder if that’s a question for a time gone past, or perhaps the future?
    In God’s seasons, there’s early spring when we break up fallow ground and the early rains come to soften the soil.
    Then there’s late spring/early summer when we sow seed, followed by the summer sun and finally in gathering in the fall.
    I think the metaphor becomes more than its intended when church becomes fixed or ossified in any way, such as on one mission statement, (planting) as if its eternally spring.
    There are seasons when Gods family goes thru cleansing to break up fallow ground so the seed will penetrate our hearts. I wish we could have a non defensive discussion across the evangelical church, about whether the parable of the sower and the seed was speaking of the unsaved or also the saved!
    The doldrums of summer, in the heat and dry wind, when maintaining our composure and strength takes everything we’ve got is when the most growth occurs, and when the crops enemies attack.
    Harvest is another season, that arrives whether or not there’s mature crop to gather in.
    It seems to me that there’s a sub narrative in the church that says we need to plant big to harvest big, and we need to always plant so we can always harvest.
    This narrative is expressed in many different ways by different groups with differing skill sets and differing soil.
    When’s the last time you heard any preacher or church voice say ‘its time to break up the hard ground’ in our hearts, so the seed of God’s Word can sink deep in us, and bring forth fruit to God?
    Right. its always about the pagans hearing Gods Word, and growing into Christ, while the existing plants are scattered across the rocks, beaches, valleys and mountains, as well as fertile soil.
    My question is: what season are we really in?

  9. Rob Kampen says:

    Some crucial thoughts you’ve expressed here Greg. Most pertinent and needing wider discussion as you suggest. I have heard quite frequently sermons about our need to allow God’s work to cultivate in our lives the wherewithal for growth and development to occur. This is no doubt stimulated by the fact that we work closely with YWAM and many DTS programs each year, thus seeing many young folk coming hungry and being confronted with intense programs that see huge growth, development and maturing, as well as missional sending and planting. I think I am ruined for anything other than where this mix of youth, energy, focus on the word and prayer is happening week by week.
    So awesome to see our God at work through the continual work of Holy Spirit activity in lives set on loving God with all their heart, soul, mind and strength and then actively going after loving their neighbour.

    • Greg says:

      Rob: We know and support a good number of kids active in YWAM and other wonderful ventures, and of course, being on the thrilling fringes of church evangelism; eating with sinners and tax collectors as it were, they are also ruined for honesty, sacrifice and service.
      I spent the 1st 20 yrs after my conversion at 17, in and out of the trenches of church planting and disciple-ing too, and am ruined also. I love the pursuit of lost souls; the wrestling in prayer and spiritual warfare, late nights, fasting and the love among a band of brothers and sisters that nearly equals the satisfaction of marriage love.
      It can be an adrenaline trip, and then we go back to church. Quiet, staid, predictable and no objective other than to just be.
      In my case however, that dichotomy didn’t exist because we didn’t go to church, as much as we never left it.
      Our re-positioning wasn’t geographical or relational.
      Our seasons of change came within a paradigm of daily fellowship, work, play and dwelling together as a family of families. We found God leading all of us as individuals to the same place, usually developing the same fruit of His Spirit, but in uniquely different contexts, and yet together. We gleaned the multifaceted nature and personality of Father and Son, and learned to look for and find Christ in one another. At nearly 60 yrs, Id happily trade in my last 10 yrs for 10 more years now, of that life.
      Alas, even that was a season.
      I wish for others to taste this so as to be able to compare the unconscious life together in the Spirit with the self aware life of lonely together that plagues the churches, and arguably, lures us to the arid land of mediocrity and status quo.
      Jesus Christ wept for Israel; longing with the pathos of God for closeness, friendship, brotherhood.
      He wants us that way now.
      Many are called, but few are chosen it seems, because to be chosen, we must respond to the call.

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