- Jim Townsley
- Apr 5, 2012
Missions is church planting. Whether a man starts a church in America or overseas the goal is the same; start local New Testament Baptist Churches. Missions should begin at the local church and spread to the neighboring communities, throughout the state, then all of America, and finally to all the world in the regions beyond. This we are to do all at the same time and not one without the other. The book of Acts is clear as to where we are to start churches. Acts 1:8 "But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth."
It is important for preachers to recognize the need to start churches in America. Half of America's population is in our cities and most people recognize our cities have been abandoned by our churches. Every major city in America is largely unevangelized. In addition, the Northeast region of America has approximately one fourth of the United States population and yet it has the least amount of churches. The West coast and the Northwest all have many needy areas. There are also many pockets of population that need the gospel. The golden horseshoe of Canada has a dense population, but is in desperate need of churches. Unfortunately, some have forgotten our mission field closest to us right here in North America.
Starting churches in needy cities of America has certain unique benefits. First of all, USA church plants have a short duration. On average a new church start is supported for about four years. Some may take longer and some may require less time, but on average four years is how long new churches need support. After four years the church can change their support to give it to another new church plant.
Another aspect of supporting a US church plant is that after a short time the new church will be supporting foreign missionaries. In fact, new church plants are one of the greatest resources for missionaries on deputation to garner new support. Making American church planting a part of the mission budget soon provides more finances for church planting all around the world.
Another advantage of church planting in the United States is that a church planter will not require as much money to get started as will most foreign missionaries. In one year a church planter can usually raise enough support to step out by faith and start a church. It will not be necessary to learn a language and it will not be necessary to acquire a visa.
The ultimate goal is to start churches all over the world. However, if we lose our home base of churches our resources for raising up new missionaries and new financial support will be diminished. Someone said, "The light that shines the brightest at home, shines the farthest."
If we are to fulfill the great commission I am absolutely convinced of the necessity of starting churches at home. The most effective way to fulfill the great commission is to follow the pattern found in Acts 1:8. Preach the gospel to your Jerusalem, then your neighboring Judea, then Samaria, and finally to the uttermost parts of the earth. Make USA church planting a part of your missions budget. You may find that your investment will result in more missionaries crossing the ocean to the regions beyond.