My heart became hot within me. As I mused, the fire burned; then I spoke with my tongue: "O Lord, make me know my end and what is the measure of my days; let me know how fleeting I am!"

06 September 2005

Church Planting

Several of you who check this site are members or attenders of our local church. Others may not know that our church here in Lafayette, Indiana, is hoping to daughter another church in the nearby vicinity. Because the type of church planting we're heading into will be different in nature than others we've been involved in recent memory (simply because of the proximity of the two congregations), several have wisely asked, "Why church plant? Why not simply continue the ministry as it is now?"

The session puts it as simply as this: We need to church plant because we are outgrowing the type of ministry that we are passionate about reproducing. Not that we're against big churches, but that a church focused on discipleship and man-to-man/woman-to-woman/family-to-family ministry is hard to manage once it gets above a certain number.

Well, there are probably more good answers to "why?". I came across this article today by Tim Keller, pastor and church planter in New York City. It's worth a read, especially if you're a part of our church family here. He makes a good argument that church planting is essential to fulfilling the great commission and that it's the single most effective method of evangelism and cultural transformation. You may have some quibbles here and there, but it's quite the engaging and motivational article.

1 comment:

Ellen Olivetti said...

As a member of a church plant, I also agree with the belief that, once a church gets too large, it is impossible to minister in a real and intimate way in people's lives, the way we are called to in Scripture. In Indianapolis, we now have seven PCA churches, and most have been planted within the last 10 years. Praise the Lord! Most of these churches are between 200-400 people. How exciting to see God working! It's also amazing to see how many churches a certain geographic area can support.

Church planting also inspires and "fires up" members of the congregation. It calls for real commitment, continued prayer, trust and a great deal of faith. Our pastor often asks us to think about this question: "What is it we can attempt that is so big that it is doomed to fail if God is not in it?" Then, when we see God working, we are reminded that it isn't that WE have achieved the impossible, it is that God was in our midst, achieving those goals and making them become realities.

Being involved in church plants has stretched our faith and just made us more enthusiastic about our God. He is doing great things, and we get to be a part of it!