Summary: ``If you want to study something, begin with its origins.’’ In this lesson we want to ask the Lord’s help in examining the origins, nature, aims, Biblical commands, and methods of the apostles first century church planting Biblical Theology of Church Pla
A Brief Biblical Theology of Church Planting
From The Acts of the Apostles
1. The students will be able to explain how the first church started and grew.
2. The students will be able to explain five principles from Acts that will help their church grow.
3. The students will share how Paul’s evangelistic methods can improve their own church planting efforts.
Introduction - Before someone begins to plant a church it is wise to examine the origins of church planting from Acts. One wise man has said, ``If you want to study something, begin with its origins.’’ In this lesson we want to ask the Lord’s help in examining the origins, nature, aims, Biblical commands, and methods of the apostles first century church planting.
I. How The First Church Planting Movements Came About in Jerusalem (Acts 1:1-6:7)
A. Jesus gave His apostles their job descriptions along with their source of power when He told them in Acts l:8: ``But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and in Samaria and to the ends of the earth.’’
Example - Recently, missionaries attempted to start a church in a large city, but were unsuccessful. After many weeks of prayer, fasting, Bible study, and discussions, the people tried something new. Rather than witnessing to the people directly they would do it indirectly. The remembered the verse in Zech 3:17 which said,
``Not by power or by might, but by my Spirit, says the Lord!’’
The next morning, the leaders believed they had discovered the one barrier inhibiting people in that city from accepting Christ-- pride! They believed that their shyness was due to a lack of faith, satanic forces, and some of their own pride. Realizing that pride goes before destruction, the missionaries felt that the only way to overcome pride was through a sign of humility.
Through the Spirit’s guidance, all the missionaries went to the center of the town to pray. Instead, of praying standing up, they knelt down on their knees before everyone! They were not praying meaningless repetitions like some might. Believing God would use their prayers, the evangelists prayed for the salvation of the souls in the city. At first, few people stopped to listen to their prayers. By mid-day, several hundred were listening. By 2:00 P.M., thousands filled the streets of the capital to learn what these missionaries were praying about.
The results came immediately. Within weeks several new churches were formed to accommodate the needs of hundreds of converts. Newspapers all over the area ran exclusive reports on these courageous missionaries. Soon, many were filled with the awareness of the good news of Jesus Christ - ``By Prayer!’’ (SIM’s MOTTO!)
C. The leaders stayed filled with the Holy Spirit’s controlling influence throughout their ministries. They did not lapse into apathy, laziness, back-sliding, fighting, or distractive pursuits like getting money for themselves. Acts 2:4 says, . . . ``they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak.’’ They celebrated and praised God despite hardships. (Acts 4:21)
D. The apostles spoke boldly for Jesus, In Acts 14:3 we learn that the apostles, ``spoke boldly with reliance upon the Lord.’’
E. They prayed together for boldness, courage, and strength to witness. (Acts 4:29)
Example - One church in Korea called the Yoido Full Gospel Church in Seoul consistently gather 10,000 people together for prayer. It is no small wonder that theirs is the largest church in the world (Local church) with 500,000 members in one church!!!
F. We must teach our people to pray sacrificially in homes, in churches, through fasting, through our families, and with our neighbors. More churches have been started through prayer than any other single means!
G. The leaders and church planters knew, preached, and taught the word of God. (Acts 2:14-36; 3:11-26;) Do not think that your church will be any stronger than the leaders knowledge, teaching, and preaching of the scriptures.
H. The leaders had faith to believe in Christ’s power over all things, peoples, problems, enemies, and hindrances to the growth of the church. (Acts 4:5-13)
I. The leaders actively took responsibility for dealing with problems in the young church. (Acts 5:1-11) . . . ``But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.’’ They delegated responsibilities to deacons.
J. The church planters stressed contextualization (Putting the message in a language, cultural framework, and in terms that they people could understand) of the message.
1). Acts 2:8-11 and I Cor. 9:22,23 we learn how the apostles were given the ability to become all things to all men.