Church planting – What is it?
Church planting is the term generally used when people speak of starting a new local church. Church planting can include a variety of expressions, ranging from home church movements, traditional church plants, contemporary or missional church planting, or cross-culture church planting in one's own nation or internationally.
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Church planting is often seen as an expression of evangelism and missionary work. The process of starting a new church typically involves one or more members from an existing church who support an outreach to a new group of people. A core group is then formed who are involved in reaching out through evangelism, community service, and other means to gather new believers and unchurched believers to regular gatherings.
Many church plants must initially begin in temporary facilities. These can range from schools to renting existing church buildings at alternative times to utilizing other community spaces for worship services. Some, though not all, church plants eventually obtain more permanent facilities and become an established church in the community.
A church plant grows to full maturity when it grows into a regular gathering of believers and then multiplies to start additional churches and ministries. When functioning properly, the church is an organism rather than only an organization, growing and multiplying to make disciples in a variety of ways.
The apostle Paul was one of the first church planters. He established at least twenty new churches throughout his ministry to the Gentiles. Paul often began by sharing the good news with Jews in the synagogue, then reaching out to both Jews and Gentiles in homes. Many of Paul's New Testament writings were to these churches he helped to begin, including 1 and 2 Thessalonians. For example 1 Thessalonians 1:8 shares, "For not only has the word of the Lord sounded forth from you in Macedonia and Achaia, but your faith in God has gone forth everywhere, so that we need not say anything."
This new church quickly grew to impact those in their community and beyond. Those who plant churches pray and work toward a similar goal, hoping to help reach new believers, develop them in Christian maturity, and involve their members in actions to help reach even more with the good news of Christ.
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