Summary: Ten Tips for Planting and Growing Churches - I Thes. 2:1-16 Paul’s principles and practices of planting and growing new fellowships
Ten Tips for Planting and Growing Churches - I Thes. 2:1-16
Illustration:We can thank God for the great work He is doing through the church planting movement of the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist convention. Recently, it was reported that 1,751 churches were started in North American and 5,750 were started internationally. Forty church planting movements were started with one of these movements seeing more than 900 new churches begun in 2001. Other church planting movements are surfacing every few months: 30,000 believers in a Southeast Asian country, 100,000 believers swelling 800 new churches in eastern India; 20,000 coming to Christ over a four year period in one Chinese province; church starts doubling in six months in one Western European country; 383 churches starting in a single state in Brazil.
Let us look at some of the principles that we can learn so God can work His mighty works through us as well. Jesus said," He who believes in me the works that I do will He do also and greater works than these will he do because I go to the Father. And you can ask anything in my name and I will do it." (John 14:12-14)
1. BEGIN WITH PRAYER. Come before the Lord with praise, thanksgiving, confession and supplication as you seek to be used to help plant and grow a new church fellowship. Prayer is foundational to the planting and growing of all new church fellowships. It will be the quality of the church planter’s personal prayer life that will act as the catalyst for the prayers of the new fellowship. Paul taught the Thessalonicans by example that his power source came from the Lord. The great apostle showed the Thessalonicans a great resource that they could utilize to access a God who could provide them with all of their needs. When you are able to share this power source through prayer with the new group you will go a long ways to transferring the vision and momentum necessary for the leaders of the new fellowship. Ask the Lord to give you prayer partners who can intercede with and for your new fellowship. As you visit with people pray for their needs and ask them to pray for the needs of others in the community who can begin a fellowship of believers. Paul’s ministries always began with prayers that remembered the felt, perceived, real and spiritual needs of people. Paul wrote, "We always thank God for all of you mentioning you in our prayers. We continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by lvoe and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ." (I Thes. 1:2,3) Ask, seek and knock and the doors to the hearts of people and homes will be opened to you by the Lord who promised that He would build His church and the gates of hell (all evil forces) would not be able to prevail against her expansion.
Illustration:When we pray, remember:
1. The love of God that wants the best for us.
2. The wisdom of God that knows what is best for us.
3. The power of God that can accomplish it.
William Barclay, Prodigals and Those Who Love.
2. ABUNDANTLY SOW THE GOSPEL’S SEED. When the seed f the gospel is spread to many people, homes and venues you will experience great fruit. Paul wrote, "He who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully, but he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly." (2 Cor. 9:6,7) This applies to money as well as evangelism, outreach ministries and the general sowing of the gospel’s seed. Use mass evangelism, near neighbor evangelism, tract distribution, visitation, personal evangelism, children evangelism, film evangelism, video evangelism, special event evangelism, Bible study evangelism, music evangelism, vacation Bible school evangelism etc. Paul wrote, "That by all means I may win some." (I Cor. 9:19-22)Ask the Lord to help you use vivid testimonies as you ask for help from a mother church to use some of their seed families, youth and people with the gift of evangelism.
3. WORSHIP IN RELEVANT WAYS. Begin to worship the Lord in ways that bring to bear God’s greatness in ways that relate to the needs of the people. For example, many people are attracted to a fellowship where worship is done in ways that is contextual, need meeting and inspiring to the audience you seek to reach. When I did church planting in Nigeria for nineteen years we sought to have our worship services in the language of the local people. We used local instruments and musicians from the local community to make the worship services appeal to others in a contextual-appropriate and identifiable manner. Try to remove as many social-cultural obstacles as is possible for the people to worship the Lord in culturally appropriate, attractive and appealing ways.