Central Baptist Church of Southington Connecticut


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Churches Start Churches

  • Jim Townsley
  • Feb 12, 2007

A proper philosophy of church planting will result in the greatest success. The wrong philosophy will often be accompanied by the wrong motivation and often the result is failure. The outcome of a new church plant is greatly influenced by the pastor's philosophy of church planting. The concept of "churches starting churches" is a biblical philosophy and it must be rightly understood.I must admit I was not guided by a biblical philosophy when I started Central Baptist Church. The primary reason I started a church was because I recognized there was not a high demand for a twenty-one year old new convert to become a senior pastor. Since my real goal was to become a pastor I knew I would have to start a church if my desire was to be realized. I never thought about a philosophy of church planting. I look back at those days and recognize the grace of God leading me and guiding me in spite of my youth and inexperience.

Though God blessed and enabled us to build a church, there were many new churches that did not survive this simple approach. I now recognize that there are important principles that can be employed to enhance the success of church planting. Unfortunately there have been many failures in the matter of church planting that could have been avoided if only there had been more a extensive understanding of the proper procedures of this great work.

If we are to understand the concept of "churches planting churches" we must recognize that it is the responsibility of every local church to plant churches. In other words, every church should reproduce itself. There is an important biblical principle found in the book of Genesis, everything reproduces after its kind. A cow reproduces a cow, a chicken reproduces a chicken, and a sheep reproduces a sheep. This principle of reproduction is also true in church planting. Churches should reproduce themselves by birthing new churches that will reflect their characteristics. Clearly if every independent Baptist church in America determined to start even one new church in the next ten years, the number of churches would be doubled. The sad reality is that most churches have no plans to a start a church. Consider this example: if five thousand of our fourteen thousand fundamental churches determined to provide the personnel and resources to start one church every five years, in twenty years the result would be thirty-four thousand fundamental churches. In addition, if every new church plant reproduced one church every five years the number of total churches would be sixty-four thousand.

Doubling or quadrupling the number of fundamental churches in twenty years may seem unrealistic. However, consider the accomplishments of Shubal Stearns at Sandy Creek, North Carolina. Out of his church more than three generation of churches started over 5,000 churches. Have you ever wondered why there are so many churches in the south? Shubal Stearns is a primary reason. Isaac McCoy and other Baptists like him followed the Jerusalem church pattern of reproducing churches. Preachers must recognize it is their church's responsibility to start churches.

There are numerous excuses as to why a churches are unable to follow this biblical pattern. Some men have concluded their church is too small, or that they are too busy to be involved with church planting. Some preachers have concluded that Bible colleges have a special machine that produces preachers out of thin air. This is hardly accurate. Preachers come from local churches where pastors give young men vision, learning, and the support that is necessary to carry the gospel to the ends of the earth. The real training ground for church planters is the local church, not a Bible college. No church should be waiting on colleges to send men to needy areas. Every church has the responsibility to carry out this vital task.

Planting churches is not merely another ministry such as a bus ministry or a reformers ministry. Church planting is a mandate grounded in the great commission. If preachers fail to recognize this mandate we will soon lose our Christian influence in this country. Church planting begins in the heart of God and is passed on to the pastors and leaders of local churches which ultimately involves the entire congregation. Church planting is the responsibility of the local church.

Church planting is being discussed more frequently than it has in many years. I am grateful for this renewed interest. However, we must stop talking and start doing! Talk will not start churches. The matter of church planting is the Great Commission. It is an imperative philosophy of ministry.

Valuable materials and training are available to every preacher who determines in his heart to plant a new church. Is there not some needy place where you could reproduce a fundamental church?