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Church Planting Today

Simon Wong

ACEM strongly believes that churches must grow in a healthy way to please God and be producers of fishers of men. Under the leadership of Rev. John Kao, our founding pastor, we have adopted five distinct visions: unity & love, discipleship training, church planting, world missions and social concern.


Rev. John Kao committed his life to serve and uphold the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Throughout the years, he led ACEM churches in evangelistic undertakings and planted several churches in the Greater Toronto Area. He also wrote about his insights on church planting and training of church planters. At present, ACEM has planted 13 member churches, each with its own uniqueness and size.


Instead of the traditional way of planting one church at a time, churches nowadays often use campaigns as their strategy of multiplying churches.  The ministry of church planting involves many processes. Many experts have analysed and made recommendations on how to make this ministry more effective. From what I observe, the following are the latest trends and directions of church planting:

  1. Healthy Leaders
    In the past, we were keen to meet the needs of mission fields. If a pastor had the passion to serve, we were eager to send him/her out immediately. Today sending churches not only want to affirm the passion of the pastors, they also look at different aspects of their lives: character, gifts, interpersonal skills, spousal support, stable marital relationship, harmony at home, ability to face challenges and solve problems, etc. All these factors are increasingly important as they affect church planters’ ability to lead and handle stress related to the pioneering work of church planting. 

  2. Church planting with different ethnicity
    Our society is like a global village with many cultural groups living in the same city. This is a common phenomenon not only in North America, but in the Middle East, Australia, Europe, South America, Africa, and Asia. The newly planted churches are made up of many ethnic groups. With different cultural backgrounds and languages, the key is to know how to co-exist in harmony and with mutual understanding.

  3. Return to the City Center
    When the growth of city centers has reached saturation, residents begin to move out and new communities sprout in suburban areas. Many new churches have been planted in suburbs while downtown churches have begun to shrink and wither. In the midst of people vacating the urban core and with the rise of poverty in city centers, how should church planters respond? In recent years, many municipal governments seek to revitalize downtown areas and create an atmosphere for people to move back to city centers. Church planters should not neglect this fact.

  4. Be Part of the Community
    There is a new evangelistic approach among the young generation of Christians called “Move In”. The families of some church planters are moving into condominiums or apartments for the purpose of spreading the gospel and starting a church in the community. This is similar to families of missionaries who leave their hometowns and live abroad. Moreover, these believers live in the midst of different social strata and experience firsthand the lives of various groups, e.g. among low income families in low cost housing complexes, new immigrants in rental apartments, etc. The opportunity and the challenge to spread the gospel are great!  

  5. Multi-site Strategy
    In North America, a new way of church planting is initiated by a mother church that sets sup several sites of worship. This is mainly due to concerns about the cost of purchasing land and building a church, or the difficulty in finding competent lead pastors. Often, a mother church establishes new worship services in community centers, schools, or movie theatres where they broadcast video recording the mother church of preaching. This can be effective as people nowadays are more receptive to video presentation in worship. In fact, 50% of church planters in North America adopt this strategy. These newly planted churches belong to the same mother church, but they do not belong to a denomination or association.

Regardless of what strategy or direction we adopt, the goal of church planting is to lead people to follow the one true God, sins forgiven, and to re-establish relationship with Him. As children of God, it is our duty to worship Him and bring glory to Him. Likewise, spreading the gospel and church planting are our response to our calling to serve Him.

Side bar
Rev. John Kao went to be with the Lord on March 24, 2013. To commemorate his passing away, ACEM recently compiled his writings and talks on church planting and publish a Chinese book. We hope that his insights will bless and encourage the Christian community at large. Not only that more churches will be planted in Canada, but more bodies of Christ will be established all over the world and bring glory to His Holy name!

(Rev. Simon Wong is ACEM General Director)


相愛合一 . 培訓門徒 . 增長植堂 . 普世差傳 . 社區關懷

地址: 2750 14th Ave., Suite G-05, Markham,
ON L3R 0B6

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Website: http://www.acem.ca

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