- Jim Townsley
- Dec 12, 2013
The pattern for church planting is established in the book of Acts. Starting in Jerusalem the gospel was to spread from Jerusalem to Judea, Samaria, and the uttermost part of the world. Scholars estimate within a brief period of time there were as many as 25,000 to 50,000 converts in Jerusalem. These believers provided great potential to carry the gospel to the neighboring communities and ultimately the regions beyond.
However, the members of the church at Jerusalem were reluctant to obey the great commission in that they were enjoying their new found spiritual life in the church. God had to send persecution to the church to scatter the believers so that they would fulfill the great commission. As a result Paul, Silas, Barnabas, Timothy, the Apostles, and many others believers carried the gospel to the known world. Through church planting, souls were saved and churches were organized throughout the known world.
Almost two thousand years have come and gone and yet many parts of the world are unreached by the gospel. How can we accomplish this daunting task of reaching the masses of civilization? There are more opportunities than missionaries. In fact many missionaries are retiring, leaving a void in their mission field, with no one to fill their shoes. The world population is exploding, but our mission force is shrinking. What can be done to raise more money and commission more laborers to reach the lost?
We need strong churches. A strong church will be a mission minded church with a heart for church planting. Church planting in the United States provides the best opportunity to send and support missions around the world. The brighter the light shines at home the farther it reaches around the world.
Consider the impact of allocating a percentage of the church's mission money to church planting in America. Supporting an American church planter is a temporary proposition. Usually about four years of support will enable a church planter to be self-supporting. After four years if the church planter no longer needs the support it can be given to another church planter. Thus a variety of church planters can be supported with the same designated amount. Missionaries overseas will continually be in need of support while home church planters can become self-supporting.
Not only can multiple church planters be supported, but the new churches that are established will begin to support missionaries. One of the best resources for missionaries on deputation is found in newly started churches. In addition, these new church plants may start additional churches which will become supporters of foreign missionaries. Far more mission money will be raised by a church starting multiple churches than if they supported only foreign missionaries. Some of the new church plants will reach an international group of people. Some of these new converts may return to their national heritage to start churches in closed countries where no American will be provided a visa.
New churches not only provide additional mission money, but they also provide full-time Christian laborers such as preachers, teachers, and missionaries. Thus the missionary force is increased through church planting. Strong churches will win souls, start churches, send out missionaries, and raise mission funds. Church planting at home increases finances and laborers. This has always been God's way to evangelize the world.
If every church would designate merely ten to twenty percent of their mission money to church planting the result would be many more foreign missionaries being sent out and considerably more money given to missions. If we increase our mission source we will increase our mission force! Church planting in America will lead to more foreign missionaries getting support and more men and women called to mission work.