3 Reasons to Plant Churches
We live in an age of extremes. If you like cake that must mean you vehemently despise pie. If you enjoy writing in pencil then you must hate pens. If you are an Apple fanboy (as I am) then you must think all Windows machines belong in the garbage. Ok, maybe that last one is true, but I think you get my point. Just being pro-one thing does not necessarily mean that you are against the opposite of that thing or another separate thing. Unfortunately many people forget this truth.
Largely we see this in politics, but we can also experience this problematic thinking in Christianity. Many feel this way when it comes to the idea of planting churches. As if being a proponent of planting churches means that you are directly opposed to established churches. This could not be further from the truth for the majority of church planters. Church planting should be motivated by desiring to see the established church grow and be faithful to its mission for the glory of God. These two ideas of church planting and established churches are not opposed to each other, rather they go hand-in-hand.
Here are 3 Reasons to Plant Churches:
1. It is an Act of Obedience to the Great Commission.
Many people get the Great Commission wrong (for more see this article). It’s not about simply seeing unbelievers come to faith in Christ. The main goal of the Great Commission is to see unbelievers come to saving faith in Christ, grow in that faith, and then make other disciples. It’s a step-by-step process to keep the church producing Gospel-centered fruit. Planting Gospel-preaching, Christ-exalting, disciple-making churches is the inevitable outcome of obedience to the Great Commission.
This is the mission of the established church. Established local churches should not be in conflict to planting churches, rather they should be the catalysts of planting churches. Somewhere along the line, this was lost and local churches gave the responsibility of church planting to denominations and in doing so have created an “us vs. them” mentality. This is truly unfortunate as local churches should be at the center of church planting and work with denominations and likeminded parachurch organizations to see churches planted thus fulfilling the Great Commission.
2. Church Planting Gets the DNA of Gospel-Centered Ministry Right from the Very Beginning.
Some hesitate to support church planting simply because there are so many churches that are struggling and are in need of revitalization. This is true, there’s no doubt about that, but does this mean that church planters should abandon their endeavors to help these struggling churches? Perhaps, but perhaps planting Gospel-preaching, Christ-exalting, disciple-making churches would help these struggling churches.
Planting churches are helpful because among other factors, they have the right DNA from the very beginning. The church planter and the core team have the freedom to begin with an ideal scenario of how they see ministry should be done. This means that they do not have to go through a committee or fight a long battle in the church to make a necessary change. Rather they should have those things down from the beginning and then it becomes a fight to improve and sustain those core values, systems, and practices. Church planting could be extremely helpful for established churches to see a living example of Gospel-centered ministry.
3. We Need More Faithful Churches.
There is a woeful lack of Gospel-preaching, Christ-exalting, disciple-making churches in Canada. So many churches and denominations have compromised on the Gospel and sacrificed to the false god of liberal theology. They have exchanged the riches of the Gospel for cultural relevance and the ability to scratch itching ears. The fact is, we need more faithful churches who will preach, live, and share the Gospel without compromise.
Church planting isn’t necessarily saying that established churches have gotten it wrong, it’s saying that there should be more established churches that get it right. It’s not about competition, but cooperation in reaching those who are far from Christ and bringing them near through the proclamation of the Gospel. Planting churches is not about limiting the established church, but expanding its impact to places where it could not have gone before. Church planting is about helping the established church do more for the cause of Christ.
There are many other reasons to plant churches, but these were a few that were on my mind today.