Jump directly to the content
Apr 24, 2012

Why Church Planting Is Essential: Australia Reflections, part 5

In part 1, I shared a few cultural (humorous) observations.

In part 2, we looked at Australian lostness.

In part 3, we looked at some research on the American, Canadian, and Australian unchurched.

In part 4, Murray Campbell shared why preaching matters in the Western context.

When you are in a context that is in need of the gospel, church planting is always part of the answer. Such is true in Australia.

While I was in Sydney, I did an all-day conference on church planting: Multiply. You can find the audio for that conference here.

One organization doing a lot of church planting is "The Geneva Push." As you can tell from the name, they are reformed, but not of the "frozen chosen" variety. Their vision is to see hundreds of churches "evangelised into existence" (spelling is from their mission statement-- and the "Queen's English"). You can find out more about what they do here.

I've asked Scott Sanders to share why church planting is so essential. He shared this article--and you can interact with him about it in the comments.

One of The Geneva Push's founders, Al Stewart, regularly says "The question, 'Why do we need to plant churches?,' is the wrong question. We should ask, 'Why did we stop?' Every church in Australia began as a church plant."

As we ask why did we stop we need to keep wrestling with hard questions about why people aren't becoming disciples of Jesus in our existing churches and also see the great opportunity and potential that new churches have for intentionally reaching people with the Gospel.

Often (unfortunately not always) new churches are the result of God's people intentionally making more disciples of Jesus Christ (Matt 28:19-20). In my job I'm regularly speaking with young blokes about their plans to establish new churches from regional towns to our largest capital cities. There is much need and great opportunity to reach the unreached in Australia where only about 8% of population attended church in 2001. Thankfully, God continues to use his people to build his church throughout the world.

Why church planting? New churches reach new people. In Australia, church plants reach 16% of newcomers vs. 10% for other forms of outreach. While this research data is older (2003) it does highlight that planting, when done well, is more effective than other methods of outreach.

Anecdotally, in my church I've seen how establishing a new congregation or church centre creates opportunities for people to become more active in church life and more intentional in making disciples. Not only are there more opportunities to serve, there are less people to serve. It is amazing to see the impact on people as people pray, plan, and encourage one another from God's Word and see God at work in the lives of people as they make decisions to follow Christ. New churches often provide the opportunity to reach people in areas where no church exists and also in areas where a church exists but has been unable to reach a new demographic or 'tribe.'

One of the other positive impacts is how a new church motivates the sending church or mother church. The established church has the opportunity to benefit from gospel partnership, seeing God answer prayer, witnessing the joy of generously sharing people and resources and being reminded of the importance and need for discipleship, evangelism, and growth. In most cases, despite the pain of sending people out, God's people get invigorated for mission and excited about telling their mates about Jesus and God willing we see greater growth in the established church.

Related Topics:None
Posted:April 24, 2012 at 12:00 am

Comments

Please read our comment policy before you weigh in, and then feel free to comment.
To add a comment you need to be a registered user or Christianity Today subscriber.
or
Subscribe
or

More From This Blog

Living in a (Nominal) Religious Context

Living in a (Nominal) Religious Context

Nominal religious contexts do not mean the end of the church.
Amplifying Evangelism—One Critical Component in Becoming an Engaging Church

Amplifying Evangelism—One Critical Component in Becoming an Engaging Church

If we want churches to be evangelistic, we need to emphasis evangelism.
The Christian Struggle with Mental Illness

The Christian Struggle with Mental Illness

Mental illness is not a subject Christians should run from.
Saturday is for Seminars—The Gideons and the Amplify Conference

Saturday is for Seminars—The Gideons and the Amplify Conference

The Gideons and Canada. What could be better?

Follow Ed Stetzer

Exchange Logo

On this week’s episode of The Exchange, Dr. Barry Corey, the President of Biola University, discusses Christian higher education and his latest book, Love Kindness: Discover the Power of a Forgotten Christian Virtue.

Cast: Ed Stetzer

Read ED Stetzer's Books

See All

Follow Christianity Today

Christianity Today
Why Church Planting Is Essential: Australia Reflections, part 5