Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Church Planting - Not an option!

I was delighted to present a workshop on Church Planting at our recent Sovereign Grace Fellowship General Assembly. In conversations with Kirk Wellum before the time, we realized that much of our material was pointing in the same direction, thus we decided to combine our workshops rather than run them opposite to one another (Kirk taking personal evangelism and me taking the actual planting of a church).

There was a great deal of interest sparked by this limited look at fulfilling the Great Commission, and the ideas and discussions generated by it were very exciting. For every 3 points I covered, there are 30 more that could be added, but I thought it might generate some thinking on the part of my bloggish friends (see tomgee – I didn’t’ write “blogosphere”) if I were to post the raw outline of the presentation here.

I will post in several parts, the largest of which will be this first one:

Part One: The Biblical Model

An opening text: Acts 13:1-12

1. Proven Men

· “Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen a member of the court of Herod the tetrarch, and Saul”

2. Already qualified as pastors

· “prophets and teachers”

3. Sent by one local church in agreement with the Holy Spirit

· “Then after fasting and praying they laid their hands on them and sent them off. So, being sent out by the Holy Spirit...”

4. Traveled to areas where the gospel was not known

· Seleucia, Cyprus, Salamis...”

5. Preached using various means

· “they proclaimed the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews”

· “‘And now, behold, the hand of the Lord is upon you, and you will be blind and unable to see the sun for a time.’ Immediately mist and darkness fell upon him, and he went about seeking people to lead him by the hand. Then the proconsul believed, when he saw what had occurred, for he was astonished at the teaching of the Lord.”

· Acts 13 “46 And Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly, saying, “It was necessary that the word of God be spoken first to you. Since you thrust it aside and judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life, behold, we are turning to the Gentiles. 47 For so the Lord has commanded us, saying,

“‘I have made you a light for the Gentiles,

that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.’”

48 And when the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord, and as many as were appointed to eternal life believed. 49 And the word of the Lord was spreading throughout the whole region.”

· Acts 17: 16 Now while Paul was waiting for them at Athens, his spirit was provoked within him as he saw that the city was full of idols. 17 So he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and the devout persons, and in the marketplace every day with those who happened to be there. 18 Some of the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers also conversed with him. And some said, “What does this babbler wish to say?” Others said, “He seems to be a preacher of foreign divinities”—because he was preaching Jesus and the resurrection. 19 And they took hold of him and brought him to the Areopagus

· Acts 19: 8 And he entered the synagogue and for three months spoke boldly, reasoning and persuading them about the kingdom of God. 9 But when some became stubborn and continued in unbelief, speaking evil of the Way before the congregation, he withdrew from them and took the disciples with him, reasoning daily in the hall of Tyrannus.

6. Stayed for varying lengths of time

· Acts 14:3 “they spent a long time there” (Iconium)

· Acts 16:11 So, setting sail from Troas, we made a direct voyage to Samothrace, and the following day to Neapolis, 12 and from there to Philippi, which is a leading city of the district of Macedonia and a Roman colony. We remained in this city some days.

· Acts 18:11 And he stayed a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them. (Corinth)

· Acts 19:10 This continued for two years, so that all the residents of Asia heard the word of the Lord, both Jews and Greeks. (Ephesus)

7. Eventually established a church and appointed leaders

· Acts 14:19 But Jews came from Antioch and Iconium, and having persuaded the crowds, they stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, supposing that he was dead. 20 But when the disciples gathered about him, he rose up and entered the city, and on the next day he went on with Barnabas to Derbe. 21 When they had preached the gospel to that city and had made many disciples, they returned to Lystra and to Iconium and to Antioch, 22 strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying that through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God. 23 And when they had appointed elders for them in every church, with prayer and fasting they committed them to the Lord in whom they had believed.

8. Moved on to plant other works

· Acts 20:2 When he had gone through those regions and had given them much encouragement, he came to Greece. 3 There he spent three months, and when a plot was made against him by the Jews as he was about to set sail for Syria, he decided to return through Macedonia.

9. Returned to visit the planted church and encourage them and unite them to other believers

· Acts 14:24 Then they passed through Pisidia and came to Pamphylia. 25 And when they had spoken the word in Perga, they went down to Attalia, 26 and from there they sailed to Antioch, where they had been commended to the grace of God for the work that they had fulfilled.

· Acts 16:5 “So the churches were strengthened in the faith, and they increased in numbers daily.

· Acts 18: 23 After spending some time there, he departed and went from one place to the next through the region of Galatia and Phrygia, strengthening all the disciples. (3rd missionary journey)

10. Reported back to mother church

· Acts 14:27 And when they arrived and gathered the church together, they declared all that God had done with them, and how he had opened a door of faith to the Gentiles. 28 And they remained no little time with the disciples.


  1. Thanks for not using the "dreadful word", Paul. :-)

    And thanks for an excellent article. Great thoughts!

  2. Good stuff Paul. There is so much to do in this area to see churches planted to the glory of God. Hopefully we will see the SGF expand its horizons in the days ahead.


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