Ed Stetzer on the Linkage Between Church Planting and Developing New Christians

We’re all familiar with the Great Commission, Jesus’ instructions to go out and “make disciples of all nations” (Matt. 28:19-20). These instructions were the driving force behind the growth of Christianity.

Church planting is an essential part of our commission to make disciples of all nations. Yet, church planting is never explicitly named in the Bible.

But the New Testament writers never really needed to define church planting—in the same way fish do not need to explain water and humans do not need to explain air, the Bible writers never needed to tell people to plant churches. At the time the Epistles were written, church planting was a constant, ongoing event; it was a regular part of life for Christians who spread the good news around the world. The Epistles gave churches a doctrine to follow, and the Gospels gave the narrative of Jesus.

So, why should we care about church planting?

Well, first there are biblical reasons.

In some ways, the history of church planting began with Paul, who went to new places and shared the story of Jesus, primarily with the goal of sharing Jesus with new people. Paul planted, and in some cases the grew the church, and the expansion continued. By the second century, bishops started to send people into rural areas to plant more and more churches.

This theme of sending people or resources into new areas in the hopes of starting a new church is, of course, what we now refer to as church planting.

If we really think about it, there has been no great move of God without either a proceeding or accompanying move of church planting. For example, during the Second Great Awakening, churches came first and people followed. New Christians appeared after churches sprang up in states like Kentucky, Indiana, and Tennessee.

Second, a theological reason.

Scripture tells us that “through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places” (Eph. 3:10). Simply, the church is God’s instrument. God uses the church to teach us and to help us grow in our faith, so it’s only logical that with more churches come more opportunities for the gospel to reach new people.

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Source: Christianity Today