July 17, 2007

Planting Missional Churches - (CH 3) The Biblical Basis Of Church Planting

Chapter 3 really is all about laying the Biblical foundation for church planting. One of the money quotes comes in the first paragraph:

"We'd be wrong to send out planters with organizational, strategic, and marketing tools but not the fundamental truths of God's Word and the principles of Scripture from which to work"

I couldn't agree more. Practical advice is great. The Gospel changes people. If we lose the Bible as central to our efforts, then I think we plant a church in vein.

Stetzer then talks about the four commissionings of Jesus:

  1. I am sending you - We are to pick up Jesus' earthly work and continue doing it. It's a personal message and it applies to all of us
  2. Make disciples of all nations - Jesus clearly intended for the gospel to reach lost people among what today missiologists call every people group and population segment
  3. Preach repentance and forgiveness - Lost persons can be found only by preaching repentance and forgiveness, the message of every genuine messenger of the gospel
  4. Jerusalem....to the ends of the earth - The sending God sent the Son....we become God's sent people to proclaim the message of repentance and forgiveness in the Power of the Holy Spirit both locally and worldwide to all people groups.
We then move into some descriptions of patterns and characteristics of both church planting in general in the New Testament as well as THE church planter (Paul). Stetzer describes Paul and expounds the following characteristics. Paul was:
  1. Personally prepared
  2. An evangelist
  3. An entrepreneurial leader
  4. A team player
  5. A flexible, risk-taking pioneer
  6. Cared for people
  7. Empowered others
  8. Stayed committed to fulfilling God's calling
  9. Willing to let go of his church plants
I suppose those should be some general characteristics that would describe a successful church planter. We then wrap up the chapter focusing on the book of Acts and an outline of how church planting is the main theme of the book.

All in all, a very solid chapter on laying Biblical foundations for starting new churches. But then again, if you've read the book of Acts at all, you probably knew that was a major theme and the main place Stetzer would use to support mandate to start new works.

I end with this quote from the beginning of the chapter:

We, today, need to recapture the note of spontaneity which existed in the New Testament and, therefore, produced churches as the believers witnessed to the Lord Jesus Christ. Church planting does involve specific and deliberate intent to start new churches, but the New Testament points to the fact that new churches and church planting are the direct and inevitable consequences of believer's involvement in witnessing and proclamation.

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