Did you know that only 4% of 46,000 Southern Baptist Churches are directly involved and connected to planting new gospel churches? If this is true in a missional convention of churches like the Southern Baptist Convention, I wonder what it is like among all evangelical denominations or networks of churches? Yes, when a Southern Baptist Church contributes through the Cooperative Program of the convention, these contributing churches are indirectly involved in church planting. I am calling for churches to not only do this, but directly be connected to planting new gospel churches. Why?
Gospel Churches Plant Gospel Churches
Since January, we have been preaching through the book of Acts. Again and again, we see the biblical precedence of planting churches. When the apostles went into towns, cities, and regions where the gospel had never been before, they won people to Christ and planted a gospel church immediately.
Gospel advancement and gospel community were both a significant part of the churches discussed in the book of Acts. It appears, at times, that it is difficult to separate the advancement of the gospel and the planting of a new gospel community or church. For us to be a church that lives out Scripture, we need to be a church that is involved in both gospel advancement and planting new gospel churches.
Planting New Gospel Churches will Help Revitalize Your Church
I understand fully the importance of our already existing churches being revitalized, meaning, given new life and vitality. What I have discovered in pastoring churches for thirty-six years and my present church for twenty-six of those years, a church has to be in a never-ending revitalization experience. Our 143 year-old Cross Church has been in a constant state of revitalization for the last twenty-six years, and I would imagine, many years before.
In church life, you cannot wait until you have it all together to become involved in planting new gospel churches. That may never happen! Yet, one of the greatest ways to lead revitalization in your church is to get people involved beyond themselves in a biblical endeavor like planting a new gospel church.
ALL Churches can Plant New Gospel Churches
Church planters and their churches receive monies from all sizes of churches. It doesn’t matter if it is $500 a year, $1,000 a year, or $100,000 a year. Church planters count all contributing churches as serious partners in planting their churches. From the smallest to the largest churches, we can all find our place in planting new gospel churches.
What Happened Historically?
I have wondered what happened historically. When I was growing up in the local church and even in my initial days of pastoring, there was little to absolutely no emphasis given to planting new gospel churches. This is why we are behind the curve of penetrating lostness, both nationally and globally. New gospel churches can help penetrate lostness.
The only new gospel churches that I remember ever being talked about were:
- Mission churches, with my Texas roots, usually meaning Spanish-speaking churches.
- Church splits that resulted in a new church, usually down the street or nearby in the same town.
This historical lack of commitment to planting new gospel churches has to be changed now, and each of us can be a part of this solution. Your church, regardless of size, can become involved in planting a new gospel church somewhere in America or the world.
Through partnerships with other gospel churches, the North American Mission Board, or the International Mission Board, your church can become involved at any level. Our local churches are to be the ones to plant new gospel churches. Church leaders and Pastors, lead your church to be involved in planting new gospel churches nationally and internationally.
Our Commitment at Cross Church
Since 2002, our Cross Church Family has planted 111 new gospel churches locally, nationally, and internationally. Right now, we are in an ongoing partnership with 34 new gospel churches located across the entire world. This is possible because our people came on board with a mighty vision to plant new gospel churches. Partnerships with other gospel churches and mission boards permit us to be involved in church planting.
Yesterday, the Sunday before, and Next Sunday…
Yesterday morning at Cross Church, we commissioned Drew Griffin and his wife, Emily, to Manhattan to plant a new gospel church. Once they familiarize themselves with Manhattan over the next several months, they will launch Cross Church New York City in 2014.
On Sunday, August 4, we recognized many of our church planters and their spouses. We had seventeen of our church planters and their spouses join us for a week with our staff team and church; mentoring, equipping, and blessing them.
Next Sunday, August 18, we will introduce our first class for our new Cross Church School of Ministry to our Cross Church Family. A few of the members of our first class are going to be planting churches globally. During their one-year residence with us, they will be in our school’s church planting track. We are getting them ready to launch and plant gospel churches globally.
Your Church can Find a Way
Your church can find a way to participate in planting new gospel churches. I promise you, it will help contribute to your church being revitalized! New life sparks life! Just imagine sharing a strong testimony about how your church can be involved through your church newsletter, a testimony at church, or an offering time. You can give ongoing reports of what God is doing. You can even take some people from your church to this new gospel church to help them over a week or even a weekend.
Let’s help penetrate the lostness of our world through planting new gospel churches. Your church can do it!