I recently came across an interesting blog post simply titled; Church Planting is Dead! I don’t know Kevin or anything beyond his bio, but he’s got some good points in the discussion on the ever changing face of church planting and kingdom expansion. I’ve done some time in the trenches of church planting so naturally I believe this subject should be a huge priority. Even in the established ministry here at The Crossings I’ve begun to lay the initial ground work for sending out planters and daughter churches. It’s a big deal.
In the post the Kevin notes various changes like the present phenomena of launching multiple campuses or sites by mega-churches opposed to planting autonomous churches. That subject is indeed another debate for another time. Here however, Kevin focused on individual people rather than on methods. His point being, in one sense, that every Christ follower can be involved in church planting. I agree with that assessment and would take the thought one step further. The key to really ushering in church multiplication and kingdom expansion is just going back to serious discipleship and not more machinery.
In other words, the best way to see churches planted all over the world is to focus more on growing disciples rather than actually planting. Contradiction? Maybe; until you look at the focus. The mainline machine is for a group of folks to partner with a church planting organization and say something like, “Wow, let’s go plant a church in some needy place like the Strip in Las Vegas.” That’s not a bad idea, but at the end of the day you just have one church which may or may not reproduce. If the sole goal is the plant, then the reproduction is terminal. On the other hand, when the chief focus is on discipleship, there is no end to exponential growth. The point is to grab a young man who is searching for God and called by God. Get that young man connected to God and then disciple him, help him grow to maturity, and then to help him realize and execute God’s vision for his life. A generation of mature and fully committed men and women of God will do far more than institutions of church planting no matter how strategic they are. I’m not saying we should ignore tools such as assessments that church planting organizations offer, but rather a change of focus. The greatest expression of church planting will only come when countless disciples of Christ are matured, encouraged, and sent out to reach the goals that God has placed in THEIR hearts. Can such a theory really work? Well, it did in the first century and at other powerful seasons of awakening and revival in the history of the Church. Jesus and the apostles didn’t set up church planting organizations, they made disciples who made disciples and thus churches were planted.
So why not take some time today to consider whom you might be able to encourage in your sphere of influence. Who do you know that just might be the next Billy Graham, D.L. Moody, Alexander Campbell or Charles Spurgeon in the making? What else would you add to the discussion of church planting evolution?