Thursday, March 15, 2007

Biblical Rationale - Church Planting Among the Unreached

“Now in the church that was at Antioch there were certain prophets and teachers Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. As they ministered to the Lord and fasted, the Holy Spirit said, ‘Now separate to Me Barnabas and Saul (e) for the work to which I have called them.’ Then having fasted and prayed, and laid hands on them, they sent them away. So, being sent out by the Holy Spirit, they went down to Seleucia, and from there they sailed to Cyprus. And when they arrived in Salamis, they preached the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews). They also had John as their assistant.” Acts 13:1-5

“And the word of the Lord was being spread throughout the region.” Acts 13:49

“And when they had preached the gospel to that city and made many disciples, they returned to Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch, strengthening the souls of the disciples, exhorting them to continue in the faith, and saying, ‘We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God.’ So when they had appointed elders in every church, and prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord in whom they had believed.” Acts 14:21-23.

“From there they sailed to Antioch, where they had been commended to the grace of God for the work which they had completed. Now when they had come and gathered the church together, they reported all that God had done with them (n), and that He had opened the door of faith to the Gentiles.” Acts 14:26-28

Acts 13 and 14 highlight the beginning, middle and end of Paul’s first missionary journey. These passages describe a dynamic interplay between the local church, missionary church planting teams, and the lost communities surrounding them that led to church planting movements. Paul’s first church planting mission illustrates that missional church planting environments are created by God when local churches and church planting teams intentionally engage unreached peoples with the gospel of Jesus Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit.

These verses highlight several universal characteristics for which to look in an emerging missional church planting environment: believers using their spiritual gifts, genuine worship, fasting and prayer, discipleship, recognizing God’s call, sending out those called by God to a specific ministry task, accountability between the sent and the sending church, contextual evangelism and indigenous leadership development. Underlying all of these is a focus on the Kingdom of God and the presence of the Holy Spirit. In such environments rapid multiplication of believers and churches is most likely to occur.

Is God calling you to be part of a church-planting team to the unreached of the world?

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