The Necessity of Church Planting
“We go to win for the lamb the reward of his sacrifice” is what the Moravian missionaries were said to have shouted back to their weeping loved ones as they sailed away to sell themselves into slavery in a foreign land. Who does this? People who’ve been transformed by the powerful gospel of Jesus and who’ve realized the nonnegotiable requirement of obeying the Great Commission. But they were by no means the first to do this.
Jesus, freshly back from the dead, tells his disciples to go and fill the world with his teaching and to make other disciple-making disciples. What do the disciples do? They go and plant churches in city after city and partner together in meaningful ways to see the gospel spread into areas where there were not yet churches. Did they obey Jesus or disobey him? They absolutely obeyed Jesus! To make disciples, to fill the world with Jesus’ teaching, you need churches. Churches have to be planted. This is at the very heart of the mission.
What about us? Will we obey Jesus’ commission to fill the world with Jesus’ teaching, making disciples in our generation? Of course we want to. But how will we do it? The only way to do what Jesus has called us to do is by planting healthy churches that are devoted to making disciples who make more disciples.
We need to plant churches that are full of faith in the God of the impossible. We need to plant churches that are dependent on the Holy Spirit’s power to raise the dead and open blind eyes. We need to plant churches that are committed to the mission of reaching their neighborhoods and the nations; big cities and tiny towns. We need to plant churches that are unshakably convinced that the gospel is the only hope of the world. We need to plant churches that know they can only accomplish the mission of Jesus by partnering together with other, like-minded, churches in meaningful ways. This is the ONLY WAY that we, as commissioned disciples of Jesus, can obey Jesus’ great command.
As a movement, Advance exists to plant and strengthen churches. We may do lots of things, but this is the core of what we believe we are alive on planet earth to do. We are ablaze by the necessity of Jesus to be made famous among the nations and we are so much better when we do this together. Regional and global partnership means that every single church can play a pivotal role in church planting. New church plants with a handful of people and existing churches with thousands, shoulder the load of filling the world with the gospel side by side whether they are the primary sending church or not.
This edition of the Advance magazine is devoted to reminding you of the call to plant good churches in every context on the planet. We hope, as you read this, you are freshly fired up about church planting and given practical handles on how your church can be significantly committed to planting churches in our generation!