Apostolic Church Planting: Birthing New Churches from New Believers
by J.D. Payne
The following is quoted or paraphrased from the book highlighting key ideas. Other great points are made or elaborated on, so go buy the book and enjoy it!
Church planting is evangelism that results in new churches.
When the church is shocked at a biblical model, it reveals just how far away from the scriptures we have moved in our missionary practices.
Apostolic church planting has been with the church for two thousand years. It is my desire that churches, networks, denominations, and mission agencies recognize this matter and respond appropriately. Many western evangelical structures, organizations, training paradigms and support systems will have to change significantly in order to embrace an apostolic approach to church planting.
Apostolic church planting provides a path to the nations.
Scripture (1 Thess. 1:4-6) reveals that 4 things are needed for a church to be birthed. Sowers. Seed. Spirit. Soil.
We are often guilty of making church planting ministry much more complex than we find it in the bible. Church planting in about making disciples, baptizing them and teaching them to obey all that Jesus commanded – in covenant community with other kingdom citizens.
How your team defines church (local and universal) will affect everything (end product / strategy / resources / methods / pastors) you do in church planting. Ecclesiology shapes everything.
It is impossible to carry out total obedience to Jesus without a commitment to a local expression of his body.
Hasty expectations hinder the birth and multiplication of churches.
Planting churches with longtime believers ought to be the exception to the rule. Churches should be birthed from the harvest field.
Church planters should work with non-believers from the start.
Once a group is baptized and self-identify as a church, it is the local church.
Church planters must not only be good missiologists but also good theologians. To be one without the other is to hinder church planting.
Ministry has always been a team sport. The model of people collaborating takes priority.
In God’s economy, the missionary team is vital to the propagation of the gospel and the multiplication of disciples, leaders and churches.
Barnabas Factors: Eight Essential Characteristics of CP Team Members
1. Walks with the Lord
2. Maintains an outstanding character
3. Serves the local church
4. Remains faithful to the call
5. Shares the gospel regularly
6. Raises up leaders
7. Encourages with speech and actions
8. Responds appropriately to conflict
The Barnabas Factors remind us that there is much more to being a good CP team member than knowing the answers to theological or missiological questions.
I hear many planters refer to Paul as the “greatest church planter,” yet few are willing to learn from him.
Churches come first and then the pastors.
Six Stages of CP
5. Church formation
Threefold Approach with Unreached People Groups
1. Identify as Jesus-follower asap
2. Ask to pray for God’s blessing for them
3. Ask if they would be interested in studying the Bible in their homes
House of Peace
Belongs to unbelievers who are open to having Bible studies in their home with other unbelievers of their acquaintance.
Evangelism is just the tip of the Great Commission iceberg.
5 Questions to Answer for Church Formation
1. Who is the church?
2. When do we meet?
3. Where do we meet?
4. Why do we meet?
5. What do we do?
A CP team must begin with the end in mind; eventually removing itself.
A CP team is like scaffolding – critical to the building process but temporary.
6 Phases for CP Team
Being an explorer may mean discarding your normal routine.
One of the common characteristics among CP movements is that the origins can be traced to a widespread dissemination of the good news. CP team members should expect to spend a great deal of time doing evangelism.
A church can be as much a New Testament church with five people as it can be with five thousand. A church is not defined by its size.
The plant-and-pastor model should be the exception and not the expectation when it comes to CP. If your desire is to plant and pastor, it is likely that your calling is to the pastorate and not to missionary service.
The Mentor/Partner is likely to last indefinitely.
While there is an urgency to take the gospel to all people, evangelism should never happen at the expense of discipleship and church health.
CP teams with a heart for the nations will not be satisfied with the birth of one church.
Methods used by a CP team serve as a model to the people group. People reproduce what they know, and they know what is modeled for them.
7 Abilities a Planted Church Should Manifest
A CP team shouldn’t try to attract Christians. They should evangelize a people, make disciples, start a small group, lead the group to self-identify as a church and then appoint pastors with that church.
All disciple-making and CP activities involve crossing cultures to some degree.
1. Assume the Great Commission
2. There is a specific calling to hard soil
3. Consider need and receptivity
A spectrum of receptivity exists among all people groups, including those who are the least receptive.
The apostolic nature of CP teams requires that they think and function as missionaries.
Manifesting a missionary faith may be one of the most difficult things your team will be required to do after a church is planted. In order for the Spirit to be in control, your team will have to relinquish control.
Make sure your training is obedience-oriented.
Provide leaders with on-the-job training. Don’t create a system that takes them out of the culture while they are trained. Leave them where they are and meet them there. Adjust to their schedules.
You’ve got to be faithful to the Lord. When we get to the field, we’ll just be faithful and the Lord will plant his church. This is an extremely important statement for any missionary team.
To enter the field without a strategy is to plan for failure. Where there is no plan, there is no accountability. Faithfulness without a strategy is foolishness. Developing a CP strategy is a matter of kingdom stewardship.
What is developed in the boardroom will not stay the same in the field. Wise teams go with a plan but constantly re-evaluate and adjust as they go.