Peter Wagner in Church Planting for a Greater Harvest asserted that “the single most effective evangelistic methodology under heaven is planting new churches,” (1990). God designed church planting as a way to expand His kingdom, and it is one of the most effective means to spread the gospel and reach new people. This is an eyebrow-raising statement. Some will respond by saying things like:
- “We already have plenty of churches- let’s focus on filling them before we start building new ones.”
- “If you plant a new church in our community, people will leave our church.”
- Why don’t we just help struggling churches first? We need better churches, not more churches.”
Those are legitimate statements and concerns but let’s answer the question of why church planting is so crucially important. Here are three reasons why church planting has always been worth considering, and now more than ever.
- Planting churches is biblical. Just because we don’t see the word ‘church planting, in the Bible doesn’t mean that it isn’t biblical. If you’re looking for it, you will see it all over the New Testament. For example, Jesus was a church planter. He established the universal Church and declared the gates of hell would not prevail against it (Matthew 16:18). During Jesus’s earthly ministry, he invited people to be a part of a discipling relationship with Him and people followed Him. Paul was a church planter. Paul was commissioned by the church at Antioch in Acts 13 and began an incredible church planting streak for over 13 years. He traveled nearly 7000 miles, went on three missionary journeys, and with God’s help, he was able to establish at least 14 new churches. The Apostles were church planters. When we look at the book of Acts, we see churches being planted in homes across different regions and cities during times of great political and religious opposition. So, church planting is saturated into the pages of the New Testament. Ultimately, the call and commitment to church planting were given to us by Jesus with the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20). Jesus called upon all of his disciples to go out and make disciples all around the world.
- There’s a need for laborers for His harvest. As Jesus was ministering throughout the villages of Galilee, the Bible says that he had compassion for the crowds because they were “like sheep without a shepherd” (Matthew 9:35-36). Jesus said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few: therefore, pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest” (Matthew 9:37-38). Although Jesus is the Chief Shepherd of his flock, there is a great need for laborers to assist him with Kingdom harvesting. So, Jesus commands us to pray. Prayer is the key to seeing more people answering the call to church planting and kingdom growth. Let us earnestly pray for Jesus to raise up more church planters to handle the births of new believers.
- Planting churches renews the church. When churches send people to plant a church or support a new work it strengthens and renews the church. It blesses the church in several ways. It helps the church focus on the Great Commission by reminding us that wherever we are, wherever God places us, He’s sending us into the world to show Him to those who are spiritually disconnected from Jesus. Lastly, it encourages a culture of generosity in the church when the congregations can come alongside a church planter to give of their time and resources for mission trips, volunteering with VBS, preparing meals for the homeless, or giving financially to purchase new Bibles. All of which encourages and renews the church’s focus on growing His Kingdom and allowing us to play a role in being the hands and feet of Jesus in a different context.
Planting new churches is a key way that we can be sure we are going to increase the number of believers. Our prayer is for God to increase the total number of workers in the field, equip them for the work of the ministry, and plant more churches in Arkansas.