Healthy Leaders


Challenge to Church Planters

George PattersonGeorge Patterson

If you plant churches or train church planters, then here’s today’s challenge. You should know the now conclusive evidence of what kind of churches sustain a large and expanding church planting movement, where God has prepared the harvest.

A large number of fields, including a growing number in America and Europe, confirm how church planters can bring thousands of new believers into simple but healthy churches. You can multiply such churches without sacrificing your doctrine or historical identity, without forcing older churches to change, or spending a lot of money.

Churches that multiply like rabbits have certain things in common; money is not a necessary component, nor a particular doctrine or liturgy, buildings, degrees, big meetings, or eloquent speakers. For most Western churches, normal multiplication entails starting a “second track” of simple churches that retain the mother church’s doctrine and historical identity, but require no church practices except what Christ or His apostles required. In these movements, churches practice certain things that we also see in the book of Acts. They:

We Western church planters often find it hard to repent of practices that hinder these activities. I had to repent of loud showmanship that kept me in prominent public leadership. I also had to learn to delegate responsibilities to many new leaders, as Paul did. I also had to repent of paralyzing perfectionism, trying to grow one or two congregations to maturity before letting them start daughter churches. I soon saw that the best time to start daughter churches is during a mother church’s infancy; its members are still close to many pagan friends, among whom the gospel spreads faster than measles, provided our perfectionism does not stifle the free flow of God’s grace. When opening new work in another culture, I also had to stop receiving helpers from conventional churches and count on local converts to do the job. Being an outsider, I had to keep a low profile and mentor workers behind the scenes. This avoided stigmatizing the faith as a Western, American religion.

Will you help stir up widespread interest in launching church planting movements? Let’s explore the issue together.

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