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I met with a pastor of a large and influential church with the hopes of engaging him in a church planting movement for our city. Over lunch, his observation about church planters surprised me, "I find that most church planters are characterized ...

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Edward Lee

December 27, 2013  8:33pm

Interesting thought. I appreciate that it was not said that all planters were arrogant and impatient. Prior to planting a church I had three failed consulting and financial services businesses -15 to 20 years prior. I refuse to think of planting as a fourth business. But I certainly carry those lessons of what arrogance and impatience can cost and do. Let God cast the vision, then make the plan, work the plan and stay in prayer.

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Rick Dalbey

December 20, 2013  12:51pm

Ted, OK. I give up. Paul had never been to Rome, yet he greets all the saints of Rome. He greets evangelists, missionaries, teachers and the female apostle Junia. Who first evangelized Rome? We don't know. Aquilla and Priscilla were living in Rome at the time and had a house church. All the Jews were banished from Rome by the Emperor and they shortly moved to Corinth. They were gifted teachers and Paul would leave them behind in Ephesus and Corinth after revivals. Paul tells us that Aristobulus had a home church in Rome. Narcissus had a home church. Elders Asyncritus, Phlegon, Hermes, Patrobas, Hermas had a home church. Elders Philologus, Julia, Nereus, his sister and Olympas had a home church. We know that Tryphena and Tryphosa were evangelistic "workers in the Lord", as were Urbanus, Persis, Mary, Aquilla and Priscilla. We are not told how Christianity came to Rome. Evidently it was an older Christian community because Paul says Andronicus and Junias "were in Christ before me."

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Jose Mellado

December 20, 2013  10:06am

I find the article to be extremely biased and as mentioned too business like bordering on an apostasy mindset. Do we not believe in the power of the Holy Spirit or heart and passion? I realize there can be "bad" candidates for church planting but my last experience has been the opposite. It was the church leaders who had no plan, that were arrogant and who became angry. For 3 years I was being "groomed" for a church plant. I went along with the process or lack thereof in humility and submission to my "church leaders". I was the one who asked to be mentored, to understand the vision. It took no longer than one week for the senior pastor to privately disclose..."We have no plan and I really don't what I am doing." Really? This is my life you are messing with at the expense of being branded arrogant and impatient I left the church and started it anyway. Two years later, the church is thriving and growing. I have never seen a worse display of leadership nor integrity. Check yourself!

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Ted Esler

December 20, 2013  8:02am

Rick Dalbey, Who planted the church in Rome?

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Andrew Slater

December 18, 2013  4:59pm

Galen: I would ask you this question: When did the Great Commission become a "business"?

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Rick Dalbey

December 18, 2013  12:09pm

To answer Galen, Apostles and average disciples (Philip) evangelized, cast out demons and healed the sick. They weren't afraid of measuring success by numbers. 3000 were saved, 5000 were saved, 12 men in Ephesus were saved. They followed up by making sure new disciples were filled with the Spirit through the laying on of hands. They either sent for the disciples to lay hands on new believers or asked the question like Paul, "Have you received the Holy Spirit since you believed?" Coaching was minimal. Either Timothy was left behind for a few months, letters read to the congregation publicly or they would host visiting ministers. Often Paul would not see the congregation he'd helped birth for months or years. Home fellowships added or increased as they beheld miracles. "Lord, hear their threats, and give us, your servants, great boldness in preaching your word. Stretch out your hand with healing power; may miraculous signs and wonders be done through the name of your holy servant Jesus."

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Rick Dalbey

December 18, 2013  11:35am

The disciples did not plant churches. Do you have any Biblical examples of this? Paul rented a hall, conducted evangelistic presentations every day, he healed the sick and performed miracles. Thousands were saved and began meeting in homes. Timothy and Titus would stay behind for six months and appoint a group of elders, for the new community. Philip preached the gospel, evangelized Samaria, healed the sick, cast out demons. Then, he called for the disciples from Jerusalem to lay hands on each believer for the fullness of the Holy Spirit. The 12 in the gospels and the 72 preached from city to city and healed the sick. The church was birthed in power. They met from house to house not as a "Life Group" strategy but because they were in AWE and excited. Only today do we go to a city with 1000 individual churches, decide to "plant a church" and import a foreign, seminary trained "Pastor".

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Galen Currah

December 18, 2013  10:16am

This article comes in a timely manner. Having been in the CP business for some 15 years across 20+ countries, I have made many mistakes. Please, read carefully through the Book of the Acts of the Apostles, and seek to reply to these queries: In what ways did the apostles themselves track the outcomes of their Spirit-guided ministry? In what ways did the apostles themselves coach new apostolic and pastoral leaders? In what ways did new churches add, increase and multiply?

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Forgiven Sinner

December 18, 2013  1:19am

Assessment...percentages...coaching...sounds more like business franchising and brand-building. Is anyone prayerfully consulting the Holy Spirit in these church planting endeavors?

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editor UNITYINCHRIST.COM

December 17, 2013  3:06pm

The most effective method of church planting that I have ever witnessed in my life was in the local Calvary Chapel (Chuck Smith, Costa Mesa affiliate) which started out in my hometown with 12 people attending a Sunday Bible study. It was simple "connective expository preaching", verse by verse, chapter by chapter, book by book through the Bible. in 2.5 years there were 125 people attending, and four years later there were about 400 attending (and that is in granite-minded, stubborn New England). There were no programs, no leadership seminars, no nothing, just simple preaching of the whole Word of God, week in, week out. The Calvary Chapel closer to Boston, MA had over 1,200 members at the time, same methods, simple preaching of the Word. Healthy sheep reproduce, feeding on the honestly preached Word of God, blessed by the Holy Spirit. Why do we always have to complicate things, and destroy the work of God in the process???

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Jim Ricker

December 16, 2013  8:31pm

Although the Acts 29 way may be a bit too much in my opinion, it certainly allows time to judge a planter worthy of being an elder or not. Unlike with the 1st century church being planted in areas with no understanding (or maturity in Christ), we have mature planters/elders today and it would be foolish to forgo helping spiritually-mature planter be missed due to our tendency to not address the arrogance of the spiritually-immature. The greatest church planter (outside of the Fount Himself of course) gave us the characteristics to look for in leaders and arrogance is not on the lists (1 Timothy 3 & Titus 3).

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Rick Dalbey

December 16, 2013  6:45pm

Paul, Timothy and Titus would never survive in this organization. Paul had a crusade mentality. He rented a hall, healed the sick, proclaimed the gospel, got a group started and moved on. Timothy would come behind, work with the new congregations who met in homes for 6 to 12 months and appoint a plurality of elders. No professionals, no Acts29 network, no seminars. Just signs, wonders, miracles and Holy Spirit inspired revival. It puts an awful lot of responsibility on the Holy Spirit. Can He handle it? What if He doesn't show up? I think we have a back-up plan for that.

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Vic Christian

December 16, 2013  4:28pm

I am sorry Taylor - but if CT claims to believe the Bible they should follow its teachings - God's written plan is for men to be pastors/elders/teachers. Second point - I wonder if Paul and other NT church planters would measure up to the standards of this and other "professional" church planters.

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Rob Moll

December 16, 2013  3:14pm

I'm with Taylor. If the author desires only to speak to men, there are publications with strictly male readers where he can ignore women.

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Christine Thomas

December 16, 2013  12:05pm

I'm pleased to see the good work of Bruce Wesley and Acts 29 being featured. I share the concerns of Mr. Zimmerman who points out the lack of women in leadership in the movement. I have shared these concerns with Bruce in the past and his position is charitable and gracious. I believe my egalitarian view is less than essential, so we have liberty to disagree. With recent publication of statistics that place educated young women on economic par with their male counterparts I see the world of the church changing much faster than the male leadership of the American evangelical church anticipates. It doesn't take the gift of prophecy to see the struggles ahead. I'm also concerned with the the racial disparity there appears to be in the movement. It's very white. Houston is not. I'm sure Bruce shares this concern. It is great advantage to start with a diverse set of participants, where culturally sensitive decisions are made at the start, than to build one later on. Grace and prayers always

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Taylor Zimmerman

December 16, 2013  11:12am

*That should be men and women. I understand that the Acts 29 organization promotes the complementarian view; however, Christianity Today should recognize that their viewership is a bit more doctrinally diverse. One can be orthodox and egalitarian.

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