The fact that you are reading this means you are interested in church planting. However, you may be thinking to yourself, “Who? Me? I couldn’t possibly imagine myself ever planting a church.” Well, you’re not alone.
I am what you might call an “accidental church planter.” I never planned on planting a church. My dream had always been to be a professor, but God had different plans for my life. In the spring of 2005, my wife and I felt the Lord calling us to start a new church. With nothing but a little faith, we began meeting in a home with only five people. After a few short months, we quickly outgrew the home meeting space and the Lord opened a door for the church to meet at the local YMCA, which allowed us to continue to grow. After moving to the YMCA, the church grew to include people from all ages and backgrounds, many of whom had no church background at all. Over the next few years we witnessed dozens of people come to faith in Jesus Christ.
Soon, we realized that God hadn’t just called us to plant one church, but He was calling us to help plant many other churches. Church planters began to come from all over to learn from what we were doing. Over time, God used us to help plant dozens of churches and to train hundreds of church planters across the nation. Little did I know, God was actually calling us to engage in a church planting movement that spans the entire globe. I want to invite you to join with me in this church planting movement that is happening right now all around the world. As we speak, disciples of Christ across geographical boundaries, denominational lines, and cultural divides are multiplying disciples at a furious pace. The growth rate of global Christianity is absolutely amazing as church planting movements have reached hundreds of millions of people from Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Planters have planted tens of thousands of new congregations in order to provide these new disciples with Christian communities.
This growth cannot be described as an isolated phenomenon. Rather, this is a movement of God. He is raising up a new generation of church planters who have a bold vision and a sincere passion to plant new churches to reach the world for Christ. Some are called to plant churches in cities, some in the suburbs, some in small towns, and others in out-of-the-way villages in remote parts of the world.
However, this movement is nowhere close to being completed. As we speak, new churches are needed in every cultural, social, and economic setting. These churches are just waiting to be started by those who dare to step outside of the box and join with God as He enacts His mission in the world.
In the same way that the need for new churches is diverse in nature, church plants do not follow a single mold of structure and execution. You will find missional, multi-site, ancient-future, multicultural, urban, and house churches, and these only skim the surface of the spectrum. The reason we see such a variety is because one size does not fit all and one church cannot win all. Enacting the mission of God takes all kinds of churches to reach all kinds of people. It is important to take into consideration the culture, race, and ethnicity of the area in which you plan to plant a church.
As for the personnel involved, once again, no one way is the correct way. For instance, some people choose to plant as a team, while others may choose to plant as a solo church planter. These factors are dictated by the setting of the envisioned church plant. God uses connections and regional factors to help shape a vision for how the church should begin.
As with all churches, plants are simply a part of the larger global church. The global church needs new local churches to reach all types of people for Christ. In essence, the church mimics a mosaic or tapestry that consists of many colors. Each fragment displays a different color, but in unison, these individual pieces portray a beautiful masterpiece.
Likewise, today there are many different expressions and types of church plants that are a part of the body of Christ. Some new churches meet in buildings while others meet in homes. Some new churches meet in bowling alleys, funeral homes, YMCAs, schools, and even outdoors under a tree. Some new churches are traditional, some are contemporary, and some are home fellowships. In spite of the diversity, each new congregation of believers gathers as a local expression of being the global church wherever they are.
While church planting may be receiving more publicity now than in years past, it isn’t a passing fad. The pages of church history are full of amazing stories of men and women of faith who changed the course of history and influenced the world through church planting. Their stories remind us that the Lord can do extraordinary things through ordinary people who step out in faith to launch Christ communities. Think about it for a moment. Every church that has ever existed underwent a stage of planting and infancy. Even though it might be hard to imagine, even your grandmother’s church began as a plant! As you can see, joining in church planting isn’t about beginning a revolution. Rather, it’s about joining God’s revolution as He brings reconciliation through the body of Christ.