Romans 11:33-36

Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! “For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor? Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?” For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Do We Really Need Another Church?

There is much talk about planting churches in Southern Baptist circles these days. Questions of methodology, strategy and means tend to dominate the conversation. But before addressing any of those issues, we must be clear on the need.

All too often it is said that we have too many churches already—what is the need to plant new ones? It is true that the many parts of our country are littered with small evangelical church buildings—especially in the southeast. The problem is that many (if not most) of them are in various stages of death and decay. If that does not describe your church, then praise God! But I can confidently make that charge about most American churches because of the vast numbers of lost people right outside their doors.

Crime, drugs, child abuse and neglect are key indicators that what we are doing isn’t working—because people who have been transformed by the Gospel don’t act like that. The only solution to the problem of our communities is the Gospel. It’s not social programs, food pantries, clothes closets or other giveaways. Those things can be helpful in the right context, but they do nothing to solve the core problem of lostness.

The only thing that will fix the problem is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. But according to Romans 10:14-15, the only way the lost will hear the Gospel is if someone proclaims it to them. And the only way that someone will proclaim it to them is if they are sent. Church planting, at its core, is sending.

The church growth models of recent years—while good for what they were good for—were primarily designed to bring. Church planting is primarily designed to send. Bringing builds crowds and budgets which can be good if focused and directed properly. Sending inherently builds disciples. And disciples are what the Great Commission calls us to build.

The Great Commission is clear. We must build disciples. But disciples will not be built if they do not hear. And they will not hear if no one is sent. And sending is best done by planting churches. Therefore, we must plant churches.


  • Ken says:
    December 22, 2011 at 5:09 PM

    Good article.

  • James Boyd says:
    December 24, 2011 at 11:53 PM

    I like the distinction made between past church growth focused on bringing versus church planting focused on making and sending disciples. Well said.

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