The heart of Church Planting in this modern day ought to be the same as it was when Church Planting had its beginning in the New Testament. Everything should start with a biblical foundation. Every action, every plan, should follow a biblical pattern & have a Bible principle as its anchor. Over time airplanes have gotten more sophisticated and technical but the principles of lift, thrust, drag, and the ever present gravity haven’t changed. Just as the Creator of the universe is the same yesterday, today, & forever, so are the principles in His Word. Culture does not change biblical principles, time does not change biblical principles, location does not change biblical principles, nor does geography. Whether we are on the mission field or down the street the Bible is still our guidebook, our encyclopedia of God’s wisdom to man, for our every action and for the way we are to plant HIS CHURCH.
So what does that look like?
Here are some significant practical examples:
The Presence of Preaching & Teaching of the Word of God.
Whether you begin your Church Plant by meeting in a storefront in the inner city, or a house in the suburbs, or under a tree in a village one thing should be present, the preaching of the Gospel Message. There are many New Testament examples but here are a few:
Jesus by the Seashore – Matt 5
Peter outside the Temple – Acts 2
The Apostles in Houses – Acts 5:42
Paul in the Synagogue – Acts 13
Paul in the center of Athens – Acts 15 etc…
The Venues are different but the Biblical Pattern of the Preaching of the Gospel is the same.
The Preeminence of Preaching in the Church
As we just saw, preaching must be present in any Church, but it should also be central. We are instructed in Col 3:16 to teach and admonish with songs, hymns, & spiritual songs, we have a wonderful OT book of the Bible called Psalms. Jesus led the Disciples in a hymn after His Last Supper in Matthew 26:30 & Mark 14:26. We even have a wonderful OT book of the Bible called Psalms. Music is to be the beginning of Worship; a doorway to God’s Presence. Music is great to prepare the heart for the preaching of God’s Word, but it is not to be the foundation of the Church, or to be the forefront of Worship. Jesus did not have a singing ministry or a traveling singing group, but He did Preach and Teach everywhere He went.
“So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Romans 10:17
“For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.” I Cor 1:18
“For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. “ I Cor 1:21
The biblical Church pattern at its center will be the Preaching of God’s Word which transcends every culture, every tribe, and every tongue.
The Passion for the Lost outside the Church
In our current day and age we have gotten things a little inside-out or better outside-in. The Work of the Church has always been to reach the lost, but the Biblical Pattern for reaching them has been confused in our recent days. The Biblical Pattern has been “the highways and hedges and compel them” to come to Jesus Christ, not to the Church house. We have seen this change in methodology taking Soul Winning from an outside daily effort of every believer, and reducing it to an advertising ministry for our Church and it activities (If we have a “Visitation” or “Outreach Ministry” at all).
The Biblical Pattern for The Work of the Church is to compel, convince, & convert the lost to Jesus Christ as in Acts 5:42. “And 1 daily in the 2 temple, and in every house, 3 they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.”
2 Everywhere – Outside the Church Meeting Place. The Temple was not the Church
3 Fervently – with passion, boldly
The second ,and most important part is the Worship of the Church. That is what we “assemble” (ekklesia) to do. Although, much of our modern Church worship style is modeled after the Old Testament and the Synagogues in the New Testament age, there are specific principles prescribed for the Church to follow in the New Testament that are given for our pattern of Worship.
The Biblical Pattern for The Worship of the Church is to:
Worship God – Phil 3:3, Col 3:16-17, I Cor. 11
Celebrate the Resurrection of Christ – John 20:1 & 19
Edify & Educate the Saints – Ephesians 4:11-12
Bring our Tithes and Offerings. – 1 Corinthians 16:2
I fear too often we get caught up in the Work and lose our Worship. It is important to do both but we must not lose our Worship, or the Work will be done in the flesh for our own glory and not God’s. We must never forget in winning the lost that our purpose is to be like Him. (Christians – little Christs)
17 This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind,
18 Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart:
19 Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.
20 But ye have not so learned Christ;
21 If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus:
22 That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts;
23 And be renewed in the spirit of your mind;
24 And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.
The Power of Prayer in the Church
“The Church is looking for better methods; God is looking for better men” “What the church needs today is not more or better machinery, not new organizations, or more novel methods; but men whom the Holy Spirit can use—men of prayer, men mighty in prayer.” – E. M. Bounds
The entire book of Acts is a testimony of the power of prayer. Prayer is central to every act of the Church throughout the book, and it should be today as well. More than 25 times in the book of Acts prayer shows it’s power. Often today, as EM Bounds said so clearly, we focus on our methodology, or our leadership style, or even our staff, but the central place of power and progress in the Church is Prayer. Our personal prayer life, our corporate prayer in worship, and our intercessory prayer for the needs of others are all clearly laid out in the biblical pattern of the modern Church.
My prayer is that if nothing else this article will challenge you, like it has done me, to look at what you are doing, or plan to do, in the light of the Scripture. God knew the conditions, and cultures, we would be building and planting our Churches in when He wrote His Word. All you need can be found inside the Bible if you will let Him and His Spirit guide you in each decision you make for HIS CHURCH.