Why Your Church Is Closer to Planting Than You Probably Think

Church planting involves a series of small steps that are not beyond your grasp.

One of the reasons why most churches do not participate in church planting is that they believe it to be something grandiose and outside of their reach. Pastors often listen to the exceptional, 10-talented, high-capacity church planter and assume that one must be like him to do church planting the “right” way.

“We don’t have a guy like that in our congregation; we can’t plant a church. Our church is made up of managers, teachers, bankers, electricians, welders, servers, stay-at-home moms, college students, mechanics, accountants, physicians, painters and contractors.”

We hear of complex church planting methods and elaborate systems and assume that such is necessary for a church to be planted. We look at our people and think the task is just too great for our congregation.

In my last post, “Church Multiplication Begins With Middle C,” I shared my concern that we often cast a church planting vision before our people and leave them there. While the vision may be good and right, it often requires the execution of complex methods that only the rare 10-talented guy can manipulate.

In this post, I want to help us understand that church planting involves a series of small steps that are not beyond the grasp of churches.

Since we are talking about planting a church and not starting worship services, gathering a crowd, organizing kids programs, renting property, buying buildings, preaching a sermon series through the book of Leviticus, developing a web site, creating a mass mailer to be distributed to 10,000 people, raising enough money to start a small company … you know, all of those potentially good things that come with established churches comprised of long-term Kingdom citizens … let’s begin with the basics.

Your people can see themselves involved with the basics. You can see your people involved in the basics. After all, the fundamentals are simple. They are basic. They are absolutely necessary.

Recognize the Basics

Church planting is very difficult work. It is a ministry that is on the edge of Kingdom expansion. It involves intensive spiritual warfare. We only need to look at the missionary labors of Paul to understand that the spiritual oppositions are great. Church planting is hard. Very hard.

However …

Church planting is not complex. In fact, it is very simple (see 1 Thess. 1:1-10 for the requirements). It is a task for both the educated and uneducated, the literate and illiterate, the full-time employee and the unemployed.

Church planting is evangelism that results in new churches. The beginning point for the church planting team is not with long-term Christians. The team begins with unbelievers. Glancing at my diagram, you are able to see the movement of a church planting strategy along the major mileposts toward a church gathered. The movement begins with sharing the gospel and does not move to a gathered group of Christians until new disciples have been made.

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J. D. serves as the pastor of church multiplication with The Church at Brook Hills in Birmingham, Alabama. He has pastored churches in Kentucky and Indiana, and served for a decade with the North American Mission Board and The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is the author of several books on the topics of evangelism and missions.