Every church ought to be involved in the work of church planting. If our churches are connected to the Vine, if we are seeking to be Acts 1:8 churches, we will see the kind of fruit the risen Christ bore out in the book of Acts. Hashtag church planting.
It is good and right for us to crave and pray for an Acts 2 culture in our churches. And why not long for the whole book? Bold evangelism, faithful suffering, revival, mission to unreached peoples, and church planting.
Ed Stetzer provides a helpful piece for established churches getting involved in church planting. I don’t intend to add to Ed’s work. And I highly recommend Brian Howard’s article at The Gospel Coalition where he writes out a six year plan on how to become a church-planting church.
But what can a current church plant, from day one, to be a church-planting church plant? I want to provide five simple steps that you can take today.
It may seem daunting to think about planting future churches when you are still trying to plant one church. Being a part of Jesus’s mission to plant churches to the ends of the earth will look different for all of us; but Jesus wants our churches to plant churches. The Church of Christ has always been a church-planting church; we didn’t stay a single mega-church in Jerusalem. Involvement will differ from church to church, but it must not be absent.
Here are five ways a church plant can be a church-planting church plant.
1. Talk About Being a Church-Planting Church
Let the same vision that’s driving your church plant, drive you to help plant other churches. Train men and send them out. Cast vision for funding church plants. Put it in your DNA. Whatever you are dreaming and white-boarding for your plant, remember to ask: “What does Jesus want for his church?” That is far more significant than all of our doodling. Have church planting in your DNA, culture, vision, plans, and prayers from the outset. It isn’t arrogant, inherently, to talk this way—it’s biblical. This is what it means to be a Great Commission church.
2. Save for a Future Church Plant
As you craft budgets and ministries, make a budget for future church planting. It is wise to save for a future facility as people begin to give on Sundays, but don’t short change their tithes and offerings. Steward those sacrificial gifts for the future. Before you begin to save for a future facility, begin to save for a future church plant. Have a Kingdom mind in your Excel spreadsheets. Think beyond your plant. Think generationally.
3. Adopt a Church Planter in Another Country
Jesus wants our churches to be “For the City” or “In the Farm Community for the Farm Community.” And the Lord also wants us to be “For the Nations.” That’s non-negotiable. As a new church plant, you may not be able to send folks to Zimbabwe, but you could adopt a church planter in Zimbabwe. Setup a relationship of prayer, fellowship, and financial support with a church planter in another country. In doing so, you are creating a culture committed to the Nations and church planting.
4. Support and Partner with a Local Church Plant
For the same reasons above, it is also wise to partner with another planter in your area, city, county, or state. And in partnering with another church plant that’s a mere twenty minutes away, you are modeling Kingdom-mindedness. Every church must seek to crucify the demonic spirit of competition in our hearts. Local partnerships show the principalities and powers, local churches and other Christians in the community that your church isn’t ego-driven. You can partner for events, prayer meetings, retreats, financial support, pulpit swap, etc.
5. Partner with a Network or a Denomination’s Church Planting Efforts
Don’t sit on the fringe and pretend you can do this alone. No single church is going to win their city for Christ. Talk to other pastors in your city and ask them what networks or denominations you should reach out to, to learn and to partner with for the mission of church planting. For us, we are a part of Acts 29, the Houston Church Planting Network, and the Texas Baptists Association. Partner up. Learn. If you go this alone, you will not get much done. Jesus is worth it.
This post was originally published by J.A. Medders, the Lead Pastor of Redeemer Church in Tomball, TX, a part of our network. You can find more of Jeff's writings on his blog at www.jamedders.com. And you can find him on Twitter: @mrmedders. Find out more on Jeff's new book, Gospel Formed, www.gospelformed.com.