I find sport in asking pastors if they have ever led their church to plant another new church. Generally speaking American pastors are positive about church planting. They commonly express to me their desire to lead their congregation to plant new churches. Then follow their comments with a well thought out excuse for refusing to plant. Here are a few of the common responses:
- “We just don’t have the people to send” – What they really mean is, “We have a bunch of ministries now that are understaffed.” Instead of killing those ministries and doing what we were originally tasked to do we will have to wait until all the ministries are staffed then once that impossible task happens we will consider starting a new church. We are teaching people that serving Jesus is equal to staffing the ministries of our church.
- “We don’t have the money” – How much does it cost to share the gospel with your neighbor? How much does it cost to meet in your living room? It is only expensive because American Christians think that in order to have a legitimate church it has to be complete with a five piece worship band, an modern facility, a tricked out sound system, and theater lighting to set the mood. Church planting is about making, baptizing, and teaching disciples all of which are free.
- “Our people aren’t ready for that yet” This one is slightly legitimate. Some congregations are not ready. But it becomes priority number one to get them ready. Mission is at the center of God’s design for the church. If you have been the pastor of this congregation for very long and you are still making this excuse I have to ask what you are teaching your people? Lead the people to readiness and away from selfishness.
- “I don’t feel God leading us in that direction” – You would find more Biblical support for having a concubine than you would for supporting that statement. You don’t “feel God leading you” to obey the great commission? What do you feel him leading you to? A capital building campaign? A clothes closet? Our feeling should never trump our mandate.
No excuses – Let’s lead our churches to obey Jesus command to make disciples of all nations!
UPDATE: This comment was so good I wanted to Post it in the body.
I have been a pastor for 35 years. For the last 20 years I have been a sponsoring church pastor in 3 different churches.The history of these traditional churches was void of church planting. My history was void of it as well. I had no training in it or experience. Now 20 years and over 25 church sponsorships later I have discovered the key to kingdom expansion is Acts 1:8 obedience. The greatest hindrance to church planting is selfishness. Pastors, pastoral staff, and church leaders are all about growing our church but the kingdom of God is another story. Jesus came preaching the kingdom and birthed the church as the organization to get it done. Church growth is addition. Church planting is multiplication. Planting churches makes possible the reaching of the world for Christ.
Planting for His glory,