I have attended my fair share of conferences and read my fair share of blogs, articles and books about church planting over time and I’ve heard a lot of reasons given for church planting. These include
- It will increase capacity in your own church leading to further growth
- It will provide greater choice of churches
- It will encourage innovation which will feed back into more traditional churches
- Church plants do better than older churches at reaching new people.
There are lots of potential benefits from church planting. However, the one and only reason that should motivate us to do this is simple. There are people who need to hear the Gospel who are not hearing it because nobody is actively sharing it with them. Those same people, should they want to go and find out themselves are unlikely to find a church where they will hear God’s Word, put their trust in him and grow in their faith.
This means that motivation to plant is very simply about motivation to go somewhere where people need to hear the Gospel, make your life there in that community and share the good news of Jesus. This means that being part of a church plant where a larger church sets aside 20, 30 or 50 people is not about going to sit in the pews but about joining a mission team.
This also means that if we are serious about church planting, then we need to be serious about mission and that means we need to be serious about identifying and prioritising those areas where there currently is no, or little Gospel witness