Summary: How To Plant Urban Churches: A Case Study Evaluation of the Summer Urban Church Planting Efforts

How To Plant Urban Churches: A Case Study Evaluation

of the Summer Urban Church Planting Efforts

Of Jos Evangelical Churches of West Africa in Nigeria Seminary Students In 1988

Learning Objectives

1. The students will explain how seed families can help start urban churches.

2. The students will list three ways that family leaders can help in starting urban churches.

3. The students will write a short paper discussing how one could start a church in a city near them.

4. The students will be able to explain how to overcome some of the oppositions to urban church planting

Introduction - In 1956 Bishara #1 resisted the offer of SIM to help them start Bishara #2 for fear of losing members, offerings, and influence. When SIM offered to pay for 50% of the costs of purchasing the land, erecting the building, and providing furniture for the church, the Bishara #1 elders still refused.

After two years, the leaders of Bishara #1 came back to the leaders of SIM asking for their help in starting Bishara #2. The SIM leaders were shocked. They turned to the leaders and said, ``Why are you interested in starting a new church now and not before?’’

The leaders of Bishara #1 said, ``We are convicted by God for our selfishness, indifference to Christ’s great commission, (Matt. 28:19,20) and people are accusing us of being spiritually infertile.

Naturally, everyone knew what they meant. If a mother cannot produce children, people begin to wonder if there is something wrong with the mother. Is there sin in her life, is there something wrong with her relationship to God, is there some resistance to the will of God, is there a root cause for the lack of fruit? All of these questions plagued the people of Bishara #1 so much that they felt compelled by the Lord to help start a new church. As they understood the parallel between physical and spiritual conditions.

Sad, but true, many churches have been started for negative reasons like the above example rather than positive obedience to the will of God to begin new churches.

Just as it is not natural for a family to be barren and without children so it is equally serious for a church to exist for many years and not plant daughter churches!!! Jesus told us that, ``We should go and bring forth fruit and our fruit should remain.’’ (John 15:16)

I. Procedures for Urban Church Planting (A Case Study)

For the fourth consecutive summer, the Jos ECWA Seminary sent out six students to urban areas of Nigeria for urban church planting. During the approximate eight weeks of the students involvement in three urban areas, five new potential churches were begun (15 new churches have been started over the past four summers- An update - As of 1991 - The students of Jos ECWA Seminary have helped start 27 urban churches). Gratitude to the Lord must be acknowledged for the training, financing, transporting, feeding, and accommodations provided.

Overall, this case study will try to highlight some of the most helpful means in which the urban evangelists were able to cooperatively start new prayer cells, Bible studies, and small urban churches. In addition the evaluation will attempt to identify specific areas where the program could be more effective for future summer urban outreach experiences.

A. Gather Results of Interviews With Students from Target Areas as Well as From Church Leaders.

After interviewing several students from the seminary, six students were chosen to represent the school in Bauchi (Ayuba Kukwi & Haruna Galadima) with approximately 200,000 people, Yola-Jimeta in Gongola State (Pastor Gasmis Bambuka & Garko Wilberforce) with about 100,000 occupants, and Bida in Niger State (Achi Atung & Jonathan Nyebe) with around 30,000 urban dwellers. Two students were posted to each location where they were given 300. The money was used for the student’s feeding and transportation needs for the two month period they were to work with the local ECWA officials in starting new churches. In nearly every case, the students were able to succeed in starting at least one new prayer group, home Bible study, or a new church through a seed family (a family that lived in that strategic new area that already had ties with the mother church some distance away).

B. How to Gain Help From Local Church Leaders

With the help of the local overseers, Pastors, or secretaries of the local church councils the students were able to find contacts that were willing to introduce them to a local seed families. The significant Christian family members would then open their homes to the students to begin inviting people for late afternoon or early evening prayer meetings. Through regular visits to the neighborhood homes, the distribution of gospel literature, and the use of gospel cassettes provided by Gospel Recording, the news of the small groups spread throughout the community. Much of the communication of the home fellowship groups was done through members of the seed families. By using this means the students were able to win quicker credibility for their message. At the same time the students could determine who were the potential leaders for the group by observing the people in Bible study fellowships. The students were able to use the consistent hospitality of the people to visit freely in their homes. Christians and some Muslims welcomed them openly.

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