Church Planting

When we were riding in the car this morning to church we were discussing an upcoming church plant.  There seems to be some bitterness and rumors that have started as a result of the church plant, even though very little has been said about it and absolutely no encouraging others who are members of other churches to join with us.  This is the thought that hit me while we were talking about it:

We could go to any country in the world or even any state in the US to plant a church.  Then we would be supported by the church we are leaving and maybe even supported financially in the process.  However, the moment we plant a church across town or even in an adjacent town we are subject to ridicule and derision, even if the churches are not exact duplicates of each other. 

Why is that?

Is this just an idiosyncrasy of SBC churches or does this happen in other denominations?

If the church is the full body of believers what difference does it make which building and congregation an individual worships and fellowships with? (Assuming that they are valid Bible believing churches.)

Believers do don’t belong to a specific “church” in a spiritual sense, the individual church is just to allow a group of local believers to grow, learn, worship and be guided by others together.



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10 thoughts on “Church Planting

  1. “What a sweet thought this is, that the Church of God is on it’s way to one blessed inheritance! The family of God are all traveling to one loving Father. In a little while, these dear saints of God, who now, through infirmity, and often under the temptation of the wicked one, contend and wrangle for their external differences, minor and petty in comparison with the great and momentous one in which they substantially agree, will meet together in a better land, in a better home, in their Father’s house. Oh, if shame could crimson the cheek, if tears could gush from the eye in heaven, it would be in the recollection that on earth we allowed these non-essential things to create heart-burnings, rivalries, jealousies,divisions, hard thoughts, speeches, and actions, before the world; thus wounding our blessed Savior, impeding His cause, injuring His truth, and crucifying Him afresh! Beloved, the saints of God are journeying towards one promised land, going home to one eternal inheritance, traveling to one heavenly Father; and this alone, did no other argument or bond of union exist, should knit and blend in love, sympathy, kindness, and prayer, the different members of the ONE body of Christ, the ONE family of God.” by Octavius Winslow (1808-1878) in “The Fullness of Christ Unfolded In The History of Joseph” Funny I just read that this morning and then your post!

    Berean Wife Reply:

    Deb,

    Thanks for sharing that quote! That is exactly what I was talking about. Proves it isn’t only SBC churches that do that. 🙁

    “… non-essential things to create heart-burnings, rivalries, jealousies, divisions, hard thoughts, speeches, and actions, before the world; thus wounding our blessed Savior, impeding His cause, injuring His truth, and crucifying Him afresh!…”

    So true!

    Berean Wife

  2. My first thought was that the church in America has two big problems that feed the response you’re getting. The first is competition. It’s insidious and it is a major part of the American landscape that has infiltrated the church.

    The second thing that is entrenched among the American people, and hence the church, is discontentment. That discontentment means that you will attract members from other churches even if you are doing nothing to engender their defection from their home churches. People are always searching for something better because they don’t want to do the work required to help their own churches become a place they enjoy attending.

    Based on these chronic conditions, I feel very confident saying that this is hardly unique to the SBC.

    As for whether or not believers belong to a certain church: that has always been a subject I have wrestled with. I think church-hopping is terrible. I believe community can only be built in the church as relationships grow and are deepened and that doesn’t happen overnight.

    On the other hand, I also believe that believers need to be free to move from a church for reasons other than outright heresy or doctrinal concerns, even though I have heard many ministers preach otherwise. We have been at our church for 15 years, with no plans to go anywhere, but I would hate for the Lord to lead us away from there and feel like we can’t go to another church.

    Many believers hold membership in a particular church on the same level as a marriage.

    Berean Wife Reply:

    Terry,

    You brought up some interesting points.

    I won’t discuss the competition issue since I think it is obvious how it happens and it is a shameful sin and blight on the churches involved.

    The discontent issue is a little more vague. Seems to me there are two types of discontent.

    1. Some people are always looking for the new and improved version of everything. There are those that change churches because they like the more contemporary music style or the youth group does more exciting activities. Or maybe the church doesn’t have many children for their children to play with, …. The list could go on and on. This is the largest group of discontents. Staying to change a church to achieve these goals are much easier because generally the average church does want the bigger youth groups and the newest facilities.

    2. Then there is the discontent over the actual teaching in the church. Very, very few members leave a church because the preaching has become watered down pep-talks or based on “Purpose Driven Live” or “The Shack” as opposed to the Scriptures. Very few leave a church because the world has infiltrated the church so much that it is nothing different than a social club with little holiness. How often have you heard someone say they changed churches because a particular church had more sound Biblical teaching? This is the type change that does not go over well and no matter what you do it is liable to be rejected. At some point it is better for all involved to just separate.

    Church membership is a much more serious matter than many churches and individuals make it. It is more than just going to the front and moving a membership. The church membership is really a covenant that an individual believer makes with a group of believers and the Lord to be of service to each other, support and encourage and help each other grow. This would also include holding each other accountable for their lives and for sinful actions. The church and its members become a family of believers, one body under the head Christ and a part of the global body of believers. It is important for the individual members to know each other well enough that we can see problems developing before they become serious like a falling away from Christ or an impending divorce.

    While it is important for believers to remain in a community of believers, a local church body, I also think it is important for the leaders, be it pastors or elders, to remain in the body. Church hopping happens too often with pastors also. Typically they are called away to lead another church but the joke is that they are always called to lead a larger higher paying church and never a smaller church. :0

    However, there is nothing inherently better about being a member of one church over another as long as they are solely Bible believing and teaching churches. (This would rule out JW’s, Catholic, Mormon, etc. churches.) But to move from one denomination’s church to a sister church should not be cause for an uproar and gossip. Maybe just some self evaluating.

    There are some who hold more stock in their church membership than in Christ Himself. 🙁 That is a shame when what church you belong to is the basis for your salvation.

    Funny thing is my husband and I have only been members of a two different churches all our lives so we don’t really fit the modern church hopper category. Yet we do fit the category two discontent category.

    I guess it is similar to homeshooling. Choosing to homeschool is perceived as an inherent rejection of public education, so choosing one church is perceived as a rejection of the other.

    Thanks for the thought provoking. 🙂

    Berean Wife

  3. I know it’s been a while since I’ve been around, but now that my mother of the bride duties are over, I can get back into life. I have experienced the type of feeling of competition you are discussing in the past. Now, though we are blessed to be in a congregation that doesn’t believe this way.

    At GfBC one of our goals is to duplicate ourselves by planting churches first all around Houston, then within Texas, after that across the US and eventually internationally. The goal for the church is 10 churches in 10 years with at least 4 being in the Houston area. We planted our first one back in March and plan to do the second one in the late fall.

    I have yet to understand why churches feel the need to grow bigger and bigger when they can’t possibly meet all the needs of those within their congregations. Aren’t we really to be about ministering to one another and spreading the gospel?

    Berean Wife Reply:

    Lora,

    It is strange how some churches can behave. You would think that they would encourage church plants, even locally. There has been talk about starting church plants from our new church, although since our first Sunday isn’t until this Sunday, maybe we are getting a little ahead. 🙂 But then again if you don’t think ahead and plan it won’t happen. Our church is meeting in an area where it isn’t like there is a church on every corner so it shouldn’t seem like a competition. I think all would agree that there are many in the community that need the gospel shared with them.

    I hope the new family grows in the Lord and impacts others for the Gospel.

    Berean Wife

  4. I believe one of the goals of GfBC when they began was to plant churches. It may be that the mindset of the elders was different than the leaders in most baptist churches. Here is a link to our Core Values page.

    http://www.gracefamilybaptist.net/GFBC2/Core_Values.html

    In the last year GfBC has grown tremendously. In 1 year we gained almost 300 people. This was before the plant. Almost 20 families went to start the plant. Many churches would love the church growth, and we have on one hand, but on the other there have been growing pains. If your church grows too big, there is just no way to meet all of the needs of all of the people. How can a shepherd care for his flock if he doesn’t even know their names?

    Berean Wife Reply:

    Lora,

    I guess for some reason there is a distinction made between sending out missionaries to start churches elsewhere and planting a church across town or in the next town.

    Our building could not hold that kind of growth, although we’ve already outgrown our first building before ever meeting there. Maybe just a slower and more steady growth will occur for us.

    I don’t think our elders want the church to get so big that we don’t really know each other, even more so than just by name.

    Renfro and Baucham have helped the elders here with some that they have learned over time. Nothing like experience to learn from.

    Berean Wife

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