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The Call to Plant a Church

Kai Mark

One of the values of ACEM that Rev. John Kao impressed upon us is church planting.  Many Christian leaders have reasoned that church planting is one of the best ways to share the gospel.  Why is this the case?  Obviously handing out a tract to a stranger on the streets is much easier than to plant a church.  Planting a church is hard work, but it is also rewarding.  Planting a church takes much time, money, resources, manpower, and commitment.  It is much simpler and more economical to run an evangelistic program than to plant a church.  Why should we keep planting churches?  Why is church planting one of our core values?

First, we need to plant churches because it is biblical.  The Apostle Paul planted many churches in the different places where he travelled.  Paul shared the gospel of Jesus Christ and left behind a group of believers in that town or city.  Today we think of “church” as a structure, or an organization of believers in the community.  The church is a gathering of disciples of Jesus structured or unstructured for the cause of the kingdom.  When we plant a church, we are starting new communities of believers just as Paul did in his travels.

Second, we need to plant churches because it brings the lost into the kingdom.  There are many seekers out in the community who are hesitant to step inside an established church.  This is not to say those with establish church buildings do not reach out to their communities.  We have many established churches that do have effective outreach to their communities.  However, there is a segment in our society who will not step inside a “church building,” but they have no hesitation coming to a school, theatre, or a neutral location to learn about God and faith.  We have found over the years that “Christians” at large are not attracted to church plants; however, many seekers will drive even more than half an hour away to a church plant.  Church plants tend to attract more seekers than believers.

Thirdly, we need to plant churches because it is the practice of discipleship.  Some Christians believe that discipleship is this learning program that can be taught in the church.  The reality is that being a disciple of Jesus is a complex matrix of understandings, disciplines, and practices that impact our personal journey with God, our marriages, our families, our church communities, and our witness in our world.  Planting a church is the practice of discipleship.  It is a commitment to the building of new community with seekers for the cause of the kingdom.  To plant a church is to exercise every aspect of discipleship.

Finally, we need to plant churches because there is a need for more churches.  We could plant another 100 churches in our own community alone and just begin to scratch the surface of reaching the lost.  Churches were not planted to satisfy the believer but to open up to the lost.  Church planting takes commitment.  It is a commitment to share the gospel.  It is a commitment to a new community.  It is a commitment to discipleship.  It is a commitment to the call of God.  There are many who will start in this Church Planting race, but not so many are there in the end when they realize that Church Planting is really a marathon.  As Rev. Kao once said, “Our Lord Jesus Christ placed the burden of church planting into the hearts of the leaders of ACEM churches.  Without the labour of church planters and evangelists before us, you and I may not have had the opportunity of being saved by Christ, receiving discipleship training and serving in the ACEM family!

(the author is the lead pastor of Unionville Oasis.) 





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