This is a question that I get asked quite often…’should every church be a church planting church?’
I am often asked to share our story in pastors meetings and conferences. When I start to talk about the numbers of churches that have been planted out of Allison Park Church over the last twenty years, and how we have put such a huge priority on multiplication, there is a multi-faceted reaction.
#1 – IDEALISM – some will say, ‘this is what every church should be doing! Every church should be planting churches.’ One statement that is made in this idealistic reaction is that ‘the church is an organism, and therefore when healthy, healthy organisms always reproduce.’ So the implication is that if you are not reproducing (in the form of new church planting) then you must be disobedient or unhealthy.
#2 – GUILT – others will comment, ‘I know we should be doing this too. One day, when we get into a better position with our staff or our finances (or whatever) we will do what you are doing, we just can’t do that right now.’
#3 – PRESSURE – many will walk way feeling a sense of obligation to do more. It’s often the case in hearing someone else’s success story that we shift into comparison mode, and as we measure ourselves against what we have heard – we feel we come up short.
#4 – REVELATION – of of the great things that happens when our story is shared, is that God will speak to future church planters and or multiplier pastors about specific calling to move in this direction in the future.
#5 – REJECTION – I guess the final reaction is one of total rejection of church planting all together. Some find it unnecessary, or threatening, or intimidating somehow.
Maybe you are wondering? What is the answer that you give to that question, ‘should every church be planting other churches?’
Most are surprised when I say, “I don’t actually believe that every church should plant a church.”
- I believe every church can invest in church planting both financially and prayerfully.
- I believe that every pastor can reproduce himself by making disciples and raising up leaders.
- But I believe that church planting churches tend to be led by leaders who have an ‘apostolic’ gift on their life.
- When a church is led by someone with that apostolic capacity, there will be very natural tendency for that church to be a reproducing church.
Now, I realize that this answer is controversial on many levels. First of all, it is against the grain of the idealistic view that I presented above. But even more than that, the whole concept of apostles and prophets is one that is both misunderstood, misrepresented, and potentially harmful if not properly applied.
And yet, if we do not understand what the Bible teaches about these gifts, we can overlook one of the most powerful principles of the Kingdom of God. Therefore, over the next several weeks I am going to go public with my thoughts on this issue. I hope to add some light on the subject and some value to a discussion on is very important issue for the future of the church.