This is the second part of a three part series (here’s the first article)
I have listed three reasons why churches must plant churches that plant churches. The first part was gospel passion. Churches must have an intentional reality for outwardly making God known. Why? Because …
The Harvest Is Ripe
Jesus declared, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest. Go your way; behold, I am sending you out as lambs in the midst of wolves. Carry no moneybag, no knapsack, no sandals, and greet no one on the road” (Luke 10:2-4).
This verse is sometimes misconstrued. Some pastors will exegete this passage as a call to prayer, but the context is Jesus sending out His disciples. He sends them out with nothing, other than His authority. Jesus was indeed telling these disciples to pray, but He ordered them to “Go.”
When I rephrased this to my pastor friend, he didn’t understand that intrinsically church planters are disciple makers. This is why I am so passionate about planting churches that plant churches—it is fulfilling Christ’s command. We cannot plant churches without making disciples—it’s nearly impossible (unless you pay people or draw them in with false benefits, but that won’t last).
Urban metropolises are one of the leading areas of interest for church planters. Whether it is for targeting areas of resurgence in gentrification, fighting poverty, racial equality, homelessness, or immigration, the gospel must penetrate all areas of population. We believe in gospel-transformation.
The Apostle Paul liked to target areas of resurgence and areas with large populations, creating springboards for making disciples and planting churches (see my recent article).
Within the last several decades, the eastern seaboard has been a target for reaching people with the gospel. The low evangelical rates of major cities, such as New York, Philadelphia, Boston, and Camden, are just a few that church planters are targeting.
I recently utilized Google’s Shopping Insight’s tool to get some information about people within certain metropolitan areas. It’s a useful tool, if you know how to use it— especially if you’re an entrepreneur. The tool helps you see what people are searching for in a respective area.
So, I decided to check out how many people searched for a TV mini series—namely, The Bible Series. What I thought I would find was the opposite of what I found. From this chart (below), as you can see, the largest concentration of people were in the exact areas that church planters target—this is fantastic news!
Some observations from my findings:
- The data doesn’t tell us who is doing the searching.
- It is just data.
- It could likely be that those who are searching are already Christians.
- However, if they were Christians, it seems the southeast would be lit up?
- It is still good news.
This larger screen capture (below) shows the U.S.
My opinion is that if only Christians were Googling The Bible Series then more of the mid-west and southeast, which are areas of larger evangelical populations, would have been represented. However, it is likely that Christians may not need to Google what the Bible is or what the Bible is about, as believers already have an understanding.
This leads me to another deduction; perhaps the people searching for the information on the series are not believers at all, or perhaps they are nominal Christians, unchurched, or de-churched peoples? This seems highly likely. What are we to do with it?
In any case, this information should enlighten the church planter and the pastor, who are thinking about these areas or live within them. These charts should engage us to go into areas where people are hungry for biblical knowledge or a better understanding of who is the knowable God.
What are your thoughts?
This is part one of a three part series
“Why would I want to do that?”
That was the answer that I received when I asked a pastor if his church would support church planting.
Did he really just say that? Let me try this again, but this time I’ll rephrase it.
“Why wouldn’t your church want to be involved in the Great Commission?”
Now he had the same look that I had—confused. Bewildered. As if someone just stolen his lunch money. I was sort of in shock, but not really—I’m beginning to get used to this type of answer.
I won’t go into detail about how he justified his church’s involvement in the Great Commission by sending money to missionaries, feeding the homeless, and sending Christmas boxes (all good, by the way).
A Gospel Passion
The Apostle Paul proclaimed, “For necessity is laid upon me. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel!” (1 Cor. 9:16b)
People ask me, “Why are you so passionate about church planting?” I reply, “It is not church planting that I am passionate about, but the gospel.”
To be a disciple of Christ means, to desire to be more like Christ. Churches that plant churches that plant churches epitomize disciple-making and gospel-centered fruit.
In the beginning of this year, I founded a collaborative initiative here in Richmond called, Planting RVA (RVA stands for Richmond, VA). My goal is to see Richmond saturated with the gospel. With 121 countries represented, Richmond is ripe for the harvest—a diverse, cultural, and beautiful area, but one that desperately needs more churches planted. Richmond was one of the only cities on the eastern seaboard that was not affected by the Great Awakening—a spiritually darkened city.
With an original intention for a multipronged approach of house church movements, comprehensive and traditional church plants, satellite campuses, and revitalizations, it was an uphill battle from the get-go. I found that dozens of pastors were willing to talk about it, but very few were willing to get their hands dirty—to break up any fallow ground.
And so, my passion is not necessarily for churches, but for the gospel. Churches that plant churches that plant churches are gospel saturated. Their intention is outwardly revealed—to make Jesus known, to bring glory to God, and to make disciples. Church multiplication is the result of disciple-making, which is the command of the Great Commission (Matt 28:19-20).