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Sat Nov 30, 2013
by Andrew Weiseth
How to Get Involved in Church Planting
There is a church planting movement happening right now in the United States and around the world. It is causing a rapid multiplication of new disciples of Christ across denominational lines and cultural divides. Experts say that church planting is the number one way to reach unchurched people and make new disciples for Jesus Christ. C. Peter Wagner says, "Planting new churches is the most effective evangelistic methodology known under heaven." Likewise, statistics show that it is much harder for traditional churches to reach the unchurched. Therefore, there is a great need to plant churches that reach the unchurched in our nation. Church planters are modern-day missionaries to North America.
One Size Doesn't Fit All
There are many different types of church plants: missional, multi-site, house church, theatre church, and purpose-driven, to name a few. Planting culturally relevant churches in the 21st century is one of the best ways to reproduce disciples through rapid multiplication. We need churches that will reach urban, suburban, and rural communities. One size does not fit all, and one church cannot win all. It takes a variety of churches to reach all kinds of people. The key is that the church needs to be gospel-centered and culturally relevant to whatever community or culture that they are called to serve through planting. It is important to take into consideration the culture, race, and ethnicity of the culture in which you plan to plant a church. There are many ways to plant a church, not just one. For instance, some people choose to plant as a team, while others may choose to plant as a solo church planter. When we are talking about church structure, we should be primarily concerned with what the Bible says on the matter.
Existing churches can and should reproduce themselves by planting new churches. You may be asking yourself, "How can I help plant a church? I have enough to worry about with the church I am already a part of." There are many ways that you can become involved in church planting.
First, you can encourage church planters in your area. Planting a church can be a lonely business. Nearly 80 percent of church plants fail within their first year. One of the primary reasons for failure is not a lack of finances, but a lack of relational support. Church planters often experience culture shock and spiritual fatigue. It is hard for a church planter and his family to adjust to a new culture. Church planters have a real need for fellowship and accountability. You can build relationships with church planters and encourage them to fight the good fight of faith. These men have sacrificed everything to plant a new church. These guys need all the encouragement they can get. Meet with a church planter, pray with him, and take him to lunch or coffee.
Support a New Church
Secondly, you can help financially support a church plant. One of the greatest needs for church planting is finances. An existing church can collaborate with a new church plant by becoming a mother church that sends out a church planting team with funds. You can help pay a church planter's salary for a year. Churches in a region or community can partner together to plant new churches in their area. You can also join or support new churches in a church planting network such as Acts 29. The Acts 29 Church Planting Network is one of the leaders of this movement. It is a trans-denominational peer-based network of missional church planting churches that have a high view of Scripture and a commitment to engage contemporary culture with the gospel. In just a few years, they have planted nearly 300 churches in the United States and have bold plans to plant over 1,000 new churches in the next 20 years.
A final way for churches to get involved with church planting is through replanting or church revitalization. Replanting happens when a church that is in decline or dying decides to face the music and dares to start over again for the sake of advancing the gospel. This will require churches to be willing to create a new identity, empower new leaders, and reach new people for Jesus. It will probably mean that a church sells their building and puts that money back into church planting. The reality is that very few churches have the honesty and humility to admit that it's over, and even less have the courage to do what it takes to replant. Pray and ask God if he may be leading you and your church to replant. Church planting is one of the greatest ways to make disciples. We should all share in the responsibility of impacting our nation for Christ through planting new churches that are gospel-centered and culturally relevant. If we want to be serious about making disciples for the 21st century, we need to get involved in church planting.