- Jim Townsley
- Jan 30, 2012
Every great leader has a vision for God's work. Noah had a vision of how to escape impending judgment by building an ark. Abraham had a vision of a land and a people that would please God. "For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God." - Heb 11:10. Moses had a vision for the people of God to escape from the slavery of Egypt. David had a vision to prepare a Temple as the dwelling place of God. Paul had a vision to carry the gospel to the regions beyond Jerusalem. Great leaders have a vision for doing God's work.
Starting a church requires a man with a vision. That vision must be personal and it begins with a call to an area. No two places are the same. One man may have a vision to start a church where the population is high and the number of churches is low. Another man may have a vision to start a church in a remote region. Yet, another man may have a vision to reach a rural community. God calls men to different places according to His own will and purpose. A church planter's vision begins by locating a city or a community where there is a need and where he has a vision to reach the area.
Subsequent to a call to a specific area is the need to develop a vision to reach the community. The ministry is more than attending a conference and learning some methods. Church planting is a special calling from God to reach a city with the gospel. God must be at the center of the entire process. Viewing your city from a nearby mountain or walking the streets of your city while praying over it can help to develop a burden for the people of this community. God must guide the preacher in how to reach this community.
Evangelism is the first goal. Communities can have different laws and customs that require a specific plan to evangelize. Some of these laws present special challenges. There are gated communities that are becoming more common where no solicitation is allowed. These people still need to be reached, but it is not possible to go from door to door. There must be a vision of how to reach these souls. In some regions of the country people love to talk. The preacher must learn the special traits of the local culture. Preachers must learn that to reach people in the Northeast he need not southernize them.
Building leaders is a subsequent goal. Identifying and training leaders is an ongoing process of every church. Without godly leaders any church will be limited in its effectiveness. There must be trained ushers, nursery workers, bus captains, leaders in the music ministry, a treasurer, Sunday school teachers, and several others. Finding and training these members is a top priority.
A vision translates into practical goals. Setting goals for total attendance or number of tracts distributed are measurable and helpful. Designating a special day as friend day, an anniversary day, or a homecoming give members an opportunity to invite friends and family to attend church. These special days will provide new contacts that offer more follow-up and soul-winning opportunities. Periodic special days provide people with a spirit of anticipation and excitement. During the early stages of a new church new converts will become excited about setting a new attendance goal. It is vital that a new church contain an mind-set of growth.
Every church's vision should be a world-wide vision. Church planting and world-wide missions are at the heart of God and they should be at the heart of every church planter. New churches should incorporate into their vision the goal of starting another independent fundamental Baptist church. It is the responsibility of churches to plant churches and if we as leaders do not give members this vision from where then will it come?
A simple description of God's plan for church planting would be: A man of God discovering when, where, and how to fulfill the will of God, and then setting out to do it. Church planters must have a vision!