So a church planter has three jobs…
- To plant a gospel-centered church.
- To do what he can to make sure his sending church has a good experience so that they will want to plant again.
- To lead his new church to plant other gospel-centered churches.
All are important but most planters I know focus only on the first. The gospels did not originate at your new church nor does it only imitate from there. Thankfully the gospel is spreading from many locations in every possible direction. It is a mistake for us to be so narrowly focused. There was an instance when one of Jesus’ apostles made a similar mistake, John said, “Teacher, we saw someone casting out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him, because he was not following us.” But Jesus said, “Do not stop him, for no one who does a mighty work in my name will be able soon afterward to speak evil of
me. For the one who is not against us is for us.” We can appropriately encourage the churches behind and before us to spread the gospel in places that are lacking by establishing and renewing local churches. As a church planter you will be tempted to have a pirate-like focus, thinking only of the prosperity of your church and doing very little for the advancement of the churches around you.
If anyone had a right to be exclusive about who was qualified to spread the gospel it is Jesus.. but surprisingly he isn’t very picky… He got his recruits off the beach and got them ready without sending one of them to seminary… So, unless you plant a church among an unreached, unengaged people group, you’ll have other churches around you. Your attitude toward those churches should be one of service. See how God might use you in a community to bring health to the body of Christ not just to plant one new church.