Recently in a conversation with a group of men who are missiologists, and have started new church work in states across the country, the question was asked if the term “church planting” was a biblical term or a term found in the bible. The answer is no, it is not a biblical term.  The terms “church plant”, “church planting” or “church planter” are not found in the bible. The term for church, ekklesia, is found in the bible and it speaks more of the people and the grouping of new believers than an established building or site. We do not see the construction of “buildings known as churches with the Edict of Milan in 313, buildings were designated to be used exclusively for worship activities. Christian churches are often designed in the form of a cross.

Church planting is not a command of Jesus Christ. There is no one single verse where Jesus explicitly tells His disciples/follower to go plant churches. Instead we find our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ commanding us to go make disciples of all nations. This is what we call the church universal, and the gathering of the people into a body of believers is the church local.

In the book of Acts we find that the church “ekklesia” belongs to Christ Jesus.  Why even God makes it very clear that He has purchased the church universal, “all who believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior” with His own blood, Acts 20:28 “the church of God, which he bought with his own blood.”

The next question was, “then why are we putting so much emphasis on church planting if the bible does not command us to “plant churches?” At a church planting conference a speaker stated that “church planting has become a fad, it has become the cool thing to do.” We must examine this very closely, because if planting a church is a “fad” or “Cool thing to do” then we must ask the critical question, “is it from God?”

Let’s make one thing clear, Jesus death on the cross was not a “fad” nor was it “the cool thing to do.” No Jesus death was a great necessity of human kind which God the Father, Son and Spirit willing gave to rescue mankind from the grips of an eternal hell. Jesus Christ’ payment was the Great Necessity for all of humanity. Remember a fad will eventually pass or fade (notice that the word fade has added the letter “e” which is the word fad.) Thank God that Jesus’ payment on the cross is not a passing thing.  It is once and for all!

Another question was “has the focus on church planting replaced the biblical mandate to evangelize lost people?” The conversation turned to the fact that it appears that some denominations have left or are disobedient to Jesus’ command to evangelize, Matthew 28:19-20; Mark 16:1-8; Luke 24:1-10, Acts 1:8, to go making new disciples of all peoples.

Have we turned our focus on church planting instead of evangelism? Church planting is not wrong but has it become the major emphasis or focus? Is it a weight that is good that weighs downs (Hebrews 21:1) young men who are fearful or struggle with taking an established church, because they do not want to be abused by a group of people who are either lost or severely backslidden.

God has given us a historical account of the early Christian era. In the book of Acts we read and find that God first sent out His missionary evangelists into the streets of Jerusalem. Then God used the persecution of His church to send missionary evangelists into the cities of the Roman world. The most influential missionary evangelist was the apostle Paul. He preached and taught the gospel to small and large groups of people.

As part of his God given ministry men and women rose up and who had the same desire to take the gospel to other cities and peoples. This was not the “fad” or the “cool thing to do.” How do we know this, because with the proclamation of the gospel in these days most every occurrence included persecution, verbally and physically and sometimes death? Eventually, all but one of the twelve disciples, the apostle John, was killed/persecuted for making Jesus known.

The results of the missionary evangelists work was new believers meeting and gathering for more study of God’s Word, and how Jesus impacted their lives. These groups became known as a church. As you study the book of Acts, you will discover the forming of more new groups as a result of evangelistic preaching and teaching into study or disciple groups. Of course they would later become known as a church.

From the book of Acts we see that evangelism is the focus, and the gathering of new believers into a disciple study group that would become the church. Food for Thought.



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