I am frequently asked why we at Emmaus are so committed to church planting. Is it a biblical conviction? Should all churches be doing this? Is it just a fad? What’s the deal?
While I am thankful for the resurgence in church planting we are not committed to it because it is popular but because it is biblical. I really believe that it is right and that it is effective. As leaders, we have attempted to create a culture that prayerfully and purposefully longs and plans for church planting. Below are some of the reasons why.
Some Biblical and Logical Reasons
1. Multiplication is embedded in the Great Commission.
The resurrected and reigning King Jesus has deputized his followers with the charge of making disciples. This charge is the vehicle by which God is bringing the gospel to the nations. Let’s not miss the obvious: Christ desires this to be effective. He wants to see disciples made. Therefore, at the very start we must conclude that multiplication is embedded in the Great Commission.
2. Church planting rises out of faithful Great Commission churches.
Faithful churches work hard to make disciples; like the Apostle Paul, they gladly embrace the paradigm of spending and being spent for souls (2 Cor. 12.15, open in Logos Bible Software (if available)). This includes local missions (neighborhoods), regional missions (state), national missions (country) and international missions (nations). The result of a church grappling with the Great Commission is a church that is pregnant for missions. It has a heart to reach its neighbors and the nations.
What happens when people and resources are deployed to this end? Disciples are made. When you make disciples, you will need more churches. This just makes sense; you will need to be pro-church planting if you are pro-Great Commission. We want to see disciples made in our city, state, country and among the nations. Therefore, we want to pursue church planting in those same spheres. Church planting and faithfulness to the Great Commission go hand and hand.
3. Church planting follows the New Testament pattern.
After being instructed in the University of Jesus and having seen him ascend to heaven, the disciples got to preaching (Acts 2-4). The book of Acts chronicles how they began preaching and then there was opposition (Acts 4-7). That opposition forced them out to the nations (Acts 8.1, open in Logos Bible Software (if available)).
What we see from there in Acts is the work of the Apostle Paul and others, going from town to town, shaking the trees and watching the fruit fall. Churches are planted all over the Roman Empire as disciples are being made. There is no indication that this priority should ever wane or shift. So if church planting is cool again, then praise God that first-century cool is back.
4. Church planting is an effective long-term evangelism strategy.
Short-term mission trips have their value and place. However, long-term missions, if you can pull it off, are always preferred. If you desire to reach a particular community in your city for the next 100 years, how are you going to do it? The best plan, hands down, is to put a church there. Not only does this work, but it is biblical. The church is God’s evangelism program. Let’s plant some long-term commitment in communities.
I often dream of being old and grey and looking at dozens of churches planted as part of the ministry of Emmaus Bible Church. I smile at that and pray for that with joy because our impact would not be tied to just this church, seasonal programs or even a generation, but to many communities, many churches and many families.