SECRETS OF CHURCH PLANTING
Pastor Andrew Adeleke shares why it’s imperative that church leaders put the issue of planting new congregations firmly on the agenda of the vision for their churches
The Bible says in the Book of Matthew 28:19-20, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptising them in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost; teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you. And, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” This passage describes what is known as the ‘Great Commission’. It is the last known directive of the Lord Jesus Christ to His disciples, asking them to leave no stone unturned in evangelising the world. As Christians, therefore, especially church leaders, our desire must not only be to evangelise and win a few souls, but to sustain the soul-winning machine by planting churches in as many locations as the Lord may give us the grace to do so.
As Christians and churches, we are the light of the world and, in order for this light to effectively overcome the darkness that is in the world today, the light must shine. How can our light shine, if we are only concerned with maintaining a church in one location for the few? A church gives us the opportunity to spread the Gospel of Christ; nurture new believers until they are settled, as well as provide nourishment for older Christians. A church that refuses to plant new churches is like a light that is hidden or is refusing to shine.
The Lord Jesus said in the Book of Matthew 5:14-16, “Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in Heaven.” Therefore, by planting new churches, we are ensuring that our light is shining, and our heavenly Father is being glorified.
When is the Time Right to Plant a Church?
One of the questions we get asked all the time is, ‘How do you know the right time to embark on church planting?’ Church planting must first be mooted by the Holy Spirit; it is a spiritual decision, and must not be a function of any man’s selfish desire. However, a church may start desiring to embark on planting a new church, as soon as the membership of its ‘mother church’ exceeds 100 adults, who are committed and regular. At this point, the church may establish home or cell churches (house fellowships), which may subsequently develop into brand new churches.
A church can also decide to go on a church planting expedition, when this church is involved in active soul-winning, and when they have trained enough leaders, who have demonstrated both spiritual and psychological maturity over a period of time.
Once you have made up your mind to fulfil the Great Commission by planting a new church or churches, one of the first questions you will ask yourself is, Where? What location is ideal under the circumstances? The first thing to always consider, of course, is to pray for the leading of the Holy Spirit. Then, we must consider where there is a need for a church; where the church can better serve, and it also depends largely on the vision of the mother church, for example, whether the vision is to reach out to a particular set of people of class, race or natives, etc.
Overcoming the Challenges
Like any other new venture, planting a new church comes with its own challenges, chief amongst which are resources – both financial and human. In the UK today, a major challenge is finding a place to use as a permanent place of worship. Churches face a huge struggle obtaining planning permission for places of worship and, in most cases, have to resort to hiring different kinds of locations – from schools to hotels and restaurants – until a breakthrough comes. Raising the necessary finance to plant a new church is also a challenge.
A successful church planter must be a prayer warrior, praying consistently for God’s help in delivering the God-given vision. He (or she) must also be able to carry the church congregation along, well enough for them to have bought into the vision, and become willing to give support financially and otherwise. He must be able to raise the finances necessary to support the work both from within and from without of the church.
A church that will grow must be a church that is focused on prayer, where the word of faith is preached. In order for the church to grow, the church must be completely devoted to preaching the word of faith, raising a congregation fed on the very tenets of praying and fasting. The Bible says, in John 4:48, ‘Then said Jesus unto him, “Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe”’. Moving in the supernatural will help the church to grow.
A church that will grow must be a righteous church; it must be holy and must not tolerate any compromise of God’s standards in any shape or form.
Pastor Andrew Adeleke is co-pastor of House of Praise in Camberwell, south east London. He is a passionate preacher, mentor, speaker and prolific author, and has planted several churches in the UK, Germany, Canada, the USA and Nigeria.