Why Plant Churches?
Simply put the term ‘church planting’ is short hand for starting, establishing and growing new churches by evangelism and gathering people to follow Jesus as Lord in their local communities.
Some will argue there is no Biblical mandate for the actual activity of ‘church planting’. And it must be admitted when we look at the pages of Scripture there is indeed no direct command to start, establish and grow new churches. Of course, I’ve also heard it argued that there is in fact no clear command for evangelism either. Such people even try to explain away the most obvious reading of passages like Matthew 28 and the Great Commission.
All that can be said, in response to such muddle-headedness, is that, as with many things in the Christian life, they are best decided by the most basic and important of Christian beliefs.
In relation therefore to evangelism, mission and in particular to church planting, I’d suggest that we have an implicit requirement to reach out and establish new churches in the simple confession of Peter, when he declared that Jesus is ‘the Christ of God’ (Luke 9:20).
If we properly understand that Jesus is indeed the long promised deliverer, who acted out of love to save us from judgement on the cross, and who rose to proclaim victory over our greatest enemy, then we cannot help but speak. We dare not be silent if we have any love for others. By speaking such wonderful news we are calling everyone to submit to Jesus’ loving rule and at the same time to stand along side others who are doing the same.
Looking at it another way, the confession that ‘Jesus Christ is Lord’, is what differentiates us from every other religion in the world. In a thriving, global, multicultural city like Dublin it defines our discipleship and it should decide the matter for us in relation to church planting. Very practically it means that Jesus stands before every culture, class and creed and calls all people to repentance and belief, but He does not stop there. He then joins them, one to another, uniting them in His desire to reach the nations for His glory.
As the Christ of God, in Jesus, what we have is the only multinational, worldwide embracing act of divine deliverance. The pioneering of new and strengthening of old churches is the most obvious response to this and the clearest proof of it.
Simply put, in the end, this is why we must plant churches: because Jesus Christ is Lord.